Communities facing crack cocaine epidemic if Government does not take action - McDonald
Speaking at a Sinn Féin conference entitled "The Drugs Crisis -- Supporting the Community Response" in Dublin this morning Sinn Féin MEP and election candidate for Dublin Central Mary Lou McDonald said if the Government does not wake up to the emerging crack cocaine crisis the country will be faced with another drugs epidemic such as the heroin epidemic in the 1980's and 90's.
Opening the conference this morning Ms McDonald said, "For the past number of years Sinn Féin and community activists have been highlighting the growing cocaine crisis in this state. However the Government has not only failed to respond but has actually turned a blind eye and condemned communities to the impacts of the crisis.
"The emergence of crack cocaine highlighted in a report from the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) and the National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST) last week is a worrying development and needs an immediate response from Government. We need to see the Government formulate, resource and implement an Action Plan to combat spiralling cocaine and crack cocaine use. If they do not take action and continue with their denial of the problem then this state is facing a drugs epidemic the scale of which we have not seen since the heroin epidemic of the 1980's and 90's.
"We are hosting this conference today not only to highlight the issue once again but also to listen to community groups and activists from the areas most affected by drugs. We are here listen, to interact and to formulate and support a community response.
"We are quite concerned that this issue has fallen off the political radar and we will be making this a priority issue going into elections in the summer. We need to ensure that the drugs crisis is at the heart of any programme of Government devised by which ever parties make up the next Government and Sinn Féin will certainly have it on our list of priorities in any coalition negotiations we find ourselves in after the election." ENDS