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Awareness campaign must be part of wider campaign to tackle drugs – Ó Snodaigh

11 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said the National Drugs Awareness campaign must be backed up with adequate resources for Garda Drug squads and for rehabilitation programmes. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the drug awareness must only be one part of a wider plan to tackle the drugs crisis.

Speaking as Minister for State with responsibility for Drugs Pat Carey launched the National Drugs Awareness Campaign Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "While I welcome this initiative from the Minister I want to stress that we have had awareness campaigns in the past and yet the drugs crisis goes on unabated. This is because the has put an unwarranted amount of value into awareness campaigns while neglecting the five strands of the National Drugs Strategy - supply reduction, prevention, treatment, research and rehabilitation.

"Awareness campaigns are toothless unless they are complemented with measures to tackle both the supply and demand for drugs and with effective detox measures for those wishing to come off drugs. This campaign must be backed up with adequate resources for Garda Drug Squads and for rehabilitation programmes.

"Minister Carey needs to wake up to the extent of the drugs crisis and treat it as a national emergency. If anything else was killing as many people in Ireland it would be treated as an emergency. Even the foot and mouth crisis, which hasn't killed anyone in Ireland, was treated as a bigger emergency than the drugs crisis which has killed countless people.

"The Minister is right to highlight the dangers of drugs through awareness campaigns however these must be part of a much wider campaign to tackle drugs." ENDS

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