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Concern at growth of heroin trade

31 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said urgent measures must be put in place to prevent a heroin epidemic from hitting the streets. Deputy Ó Snodaigh, who was speaking after a record heroin seizure in Dublin; the Merchant Quay Project's report today of 1,700 new heroin injecting addicts; and, the seventh year-on-year increase in poppy harvest in Afghanistan said that these facts signal the extent of the drug problem in Ireland and the potential in the next few months that it will get worse and the need for immediate measures by the Government to ensure that the drugs crisis in Ireland doesn't get worse.

He said, "Not since the late eighties and early nineties has the heroin crop been as high as it is today in Afghanistan. And we all know the consequences that heroin had here in Ireland at that time. This year's poppy crop is the biggest ever and that means that heroin will be flooding our streets in coming months.

"I would be concerned that yesterday's record heroin seizure in Dublin may be a signal of an influx of that Afghanistan heroin into the country and I would call on Justice Minister Brian Lenihan to take note of the situation and immediately put measures in place to prevent a renewed heroin epidemic from hitting our streets.

"Unless the government start to seriously get to grips with the drug crisis in Ireland, the epidemic of the 1980s will pall in comparison. The onus is on the new minister for Drugs Pat Carey to get an immediate and properly funded multi-agency response, similar to the response when Foot and Mouth threatened our agriculture industry, which can tackle head-on the drug barons and the consequences of their poison. The facts and figures are there, they don't need to commission a report" ENDS

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