Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Drug use in Ireland one of the country's leading social cancers - Cllr Billy Page

15 August, 2005

Speaking in response to the latest survey on Drug Use in Ireland, Derry Sinn Féin Councillor and Local Government Spokesperson on Health, Billy Page has expressed his dismay at what is now proving to be one of the country's major social ills. The National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) and the Drug and Alcohol Information Research Unit (DAIRU) who commissioned the island wide report has revealed alarming figures to indicate the prevalent rates of drugs in Irish households. The survey was undertaken by MORI/MRC following the strict guidelines set out by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

"I am not in any way surprised by the figures contained in this the latest drug prevalence report. More and more people of all ages are experimenting with drugs. This report should be as widely published and read as possible to highlight the extent and the damage drugs continue to do to individuals, families, communities, and by extension the soul of Irish society. The figures represent in themselves a stark and harrowing picture, but behind these figures is where the human tragedy and impact of this scourge is being felt‰.

The key findings in the report show one in five (19%) of respondents across Ireland reported taking an illegal drug. Cannabis was the most commonly used illegal drug with prevalence rates of 17%. Ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and other opiate derivatives have been on the increase since the first report of this kind was published in 2002/2003.

"I would appeal to anyone thinking of accessing drugs or other illegal substance to think carefully what they are potentially getting involved in. The level of legally available drugs, including alcohol, marketed under brand names must also only be used under strict controlled conditions and direction. I am calling on both Governments to establish an aggressive, co-ordinated all-Ireland strategy to tackle this serious issue. Too many lives are stake." ENDS

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