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Fourfold increase in cocaine use exposes failure of Government drugs policy - Ó Snodaigh

4 October, 2006

Responding to a new report on the rise of illegal drug use in the south of the country that discovered a fourfold increase in cocaine and crack use Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus O Snodaigh TD described the Government’s urban centric approach to drugs policy as ‘more redundant than ever’.


The Dublin South-Central TD said: “The findings contained in Dr. Tim Jackson's report on illegal drug use in Cork and Kerry should act as a further wake up call to the Government on the geographic realities of drug abuse. The report finds that the percentage of people who have used illegal drugs in the HSE South area has doubled from 16% in 1996 to 34% in 2004 and the numbers who had used cocaine, crack, speed and ecstasy went up fourfold over the same period.


“I believe this upwards trend has continued and the numbers at this time are even higher stil clearly demonstrating that the Government policy of associating drug abuse almost exclusively with cities and large urban centres is more redundant than ever.


“Hard drug use has personal, family and health consequences but it also has wider social implications. The use of cocaine in particular has led to a marked increase in both the number and the seriousness of violent assaults in many rural towns. Last May Sinn Féin put forward a comprehensive private members motion in the Dáil that dealt with all aspects of drug misuse.


“We highlighted the failure of the Health Service Executive to provide harm reduction facilities throughout the State; the emergence of a trade in crack cocaine; the high levels of crime fuelled by the drugs trade; the issue of rights for grandparents looking after the children of their addict sons and daughters; the issue of resources for the Gardaí and resourcing education programmes and campaigns for children and parents.


“Had our motion received cross party support, it would have provided the basis for seriously tackling the growing problem of drug misuse that affects all sectors of Irish society. Unfortunately the Government chose to play party politics and opposed the motion in favour of their continued policy of refusing to face up to the drugs crisis and in particular to its changing geographical realities.”




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