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Increase in overdose deaths highlights Government failure to tackle drugs crisis – Ó Snodaigh

14 August, 2007


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said figures provided to him by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern show that drug related deaths as a result of overdose increased by 32% from 2004 to 2005 alone. The TD was reacting to an article in the Irish Examiner today which showed a 20% increase in drug related deaths as a result of overdose between 2001 and 2004.

He said, "Figures in today's Irish Examiner show a sharp increase in the number of drug related deaths as a result of overdose between 2001 and 2004. However, even more alarming figures which were provided to me by the Taoiseach's office show that since 2004 that figure has risen even more sharply again as the Government fails to get to grips with our increasing drugs crisis.

"The figures provided to me show that between 2004 and 2005 there was a 32% increase in deaths by overdose with 126 in 2004 and 166 in 2005. This equates to more than one death every three days. And it must be remembered that these figures do not include deaths caused from actions taken while under the influence of drugs.

"While the number of cocaine deaths would appear low relative to heroin, these figures do not take account of deaths in which cocaine has been a major factor. For example were cocaine is part of a cocktail of drugs including alcohol which leads to death or were cocaine acts as catalyst to violent assaults.

"These figures are startling evidence of this and previous Governments' failure to effectively tackle the drugs crisis. In fact the Government continues to play down the scale of the drug problem in Ireland to the detriment of local communities who are ravaged by drugs.

"I am calling again on the Government to properly fund the national and local drugs units and community policing to enable the Gardaí to more effectively tackle illegal drugs supply in partnership with communities. And to fully resource and implement all of the national drugs strategy including the rehabilitation pillar." ENDS

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