Sinn Féin Cavan-Monaghan TD, Pauline Tully, has highlighted the importance of ensuring a multi-agency response to tackling the issue of drugs.
Speaking after her Dáil statement on Community Safety and Preventing Crime, Teachta Tully said:
“One of the most serious issues in my area and elsewhere in Cavan is that of drug misuse and the crime associated with it.
“This can no longer be seen simply as an urban issue. It is an issue in every town and village and every rural area.
“Young people are constantly being brought into this seedy world without realising the consequences.
“Some are attracted by the promise of easy money from doing drops or acting as a courier for drug dealers but more often than not, it is a matter of young people easily running up sizeable drug debts. They cannot then afford to pay such debts and end up dealing themselves to do so, which gets them more and more deeply involved.
“In other cases, they or their families are being threatened.
“I am frequently told of families hearing a knock at the door from people looking for hundreds of euro or even €1,000 by the weekend, because a son or daughter has run up a debt.
“These people are afraid to go to the Garda about it.
“I am also personally aware of young people who have taken their own lives because they could not see a way out of debt and were afraid to admit their problems to parents or loved ones.
“Drugs have become normalised in society.
“Young people often do not realise how much it can affect their mood or that the high is so quickly followed by the low and the paranoia.
“Investment in the national drugs strategy and in drug and alcohol task forces is needed immediately.
“We need a multi-agency approach to tackle this problem head on.
“The Departments of Health, Justice and Education in particular need to work together.
“Education is very important to get to young people early to teach them about the dangers of drugs.
“We also need more Gardaí in the national drugs unit.”