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Drug crisis at St James's Hospital needs to be tackled on many fronts

14 November, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said the problem of drug dealing at St James's Hospital "needs to be tackled on many fronts." Commenting on reports in today's media, which say that the hospital is "awash" with drugs, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, the problem was "not new" but rather that it reflected what is going on in broader community, especially the immediate area Dublin that surrounds St James's.

The Dublin South Central TD said, "While this reports may cause surprise and alarm in some quarters the reality is that this problem is not new. Drug dealing and drug taking in St. James's Hospital -- in the grounds, the reception, A&E, the toilets and even in the wards -- is unfortunately a reflection on the wider problems of drug abuse in our society and especially so in the immediate community that surrounds this hospital.

"While increased security measures at the hospital would be welcome, and is necessary for the protection of staff and patients alike, it is nonetheless only one aspect of dealing with what is a chronic problem for this part of Dublin. This crisis needs to be tackled on many fronts. In conjunction with improved resources for security we need adequate resources put into tackling this scourge at a community level. We urgently need additional supports and services for those who are trying to kick their habit -- especially those who have been hospitalised as a result of their addiction and related health issues. We need increased educational resources to educate not only those caught up in a cycle of drug abuse but also to educate young people against the dangers of becoming involved in drugs in the first place.

"The media spotlight on St. James's today, while maybe disturbing to people using the hospital, will be useful if it prompts those in authority to provide the resources needed to tackle what is a serious and ongoing problem in the area." ENDS

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