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National Drug Strategy must be prioritised by new government - Ó Snodaigh

18 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh today welcomed the two major heroin seizures over the weekend but warned that ‘this is merely the tip of an ever-increasing iceberg and should serve as a reminder to the incoming government that they must give the issue of the drugs crisis the attention it demands”. Deputy Ó Snodaigh was referring to seizures of heroin worth over 2 million euro at Rosslare harbour on Saturday and a further find of heroin valued at 200,000 euro in Clontarf on the same day.

The Dublin South-Central TD said “any seizure of illegal drugs must be welcomed. However the majority of drugs continue to slip through the net and end up ravaging communities, destroying families and ruining lives. I would like to urge the incoming government and the Minister with responsibility for the National Drug Strategy to give the drugs scourge the attention it warrants.

“It is imperative that the new government responds with a dynamic approach. There needs to be a better resourced Garda Drugs Unit to ensure that major drug dealers are aggressively tackled. There also needs to be well-resourced education and preventative measures. There needs to be a government and community-led approach in targeting young people who are most vulnerable and exposed to drug abuse. The government must promote another culture through late-night alcohol and drug-free cafes for instance. There also must be increased investment in local sports facilities and amenities to provide healthy affordable alternatives to our youth.

“There also needs to be well resourced treatment and rehabilitation facilities. The fact that there are an estimated paltry 23 detox beds in this state is nothing short of shameful. There are also unacceptable waiting lists for heroin addicts wishing to go on methadone programmes.

“The new government must play a more pro-active role and engage with communities who are suffering most from this continuing drug epidemic. There should be no acceptable level of drug abuse and drug dealing must no longer be tolerated by the authorities. This island is now in the grip of a cocaine epidemic and the government must respond and learn its lesson from the heroin scourges of the eighties and nineties.” Críoch


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