There was a seven-fold increase in the value of cocaine and heroin seized by Revenue last year.
Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk show that drugs worth €72m were seized last year.
That’s compared to just €10m the previous year.
Revenue said the total value of drugs it seized in 2021 was €115m – up from €45m the previous year.
Retired Garda Detective Inspector Pat Marry told Newstalk Irish society has lost the war on drugs – and said it is time to consider a new approach.
“Cannabis and cocaine – maybe there might be an argument there for decriminalising people having it on their person, like a certain amount,” he said.
“They did it in Portugal and they are reaping the benefits now of their strategy there because they had a huge suicide rate and now the suicide rate has dropped dramatically.”
He said Portugal has seen no arrests for personal possession in the past 16 years.
A Citizens’ Assembly on drug use is to start work next year after the Government confirmed it would not be held in 2022.
Five years ago, the Government set up a working group to examine alternatives to conviction for minor drug offences.
That came after the Oireachtas Justice Committee travelled to Portugal in 2015 to see first-hand the effect of the country's decriminalisation policy.
In 2019, the working group called for a “health-led approach” to the possession of drugs for personal use.
In 2020, Ireland had the third highest death toll from drugs in Europe - behind only Britain and Sweden.
Additional reporting Michael Staines