GP and TD lead calls for new clampdown on drugs

Roscommon Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan has called on the new Government to provide more resources for the war against drugs in the wake of the €200m haul of cocaine which took place in West Cork earlier this week.   Deputy Feighan has often spoken about the growing problem of drug abuse in Ireland and particularly in rural areas like Roscommon and he says that the latest find is a signal to the new Government to take the issue more seriously.   ‘There will have to be a major increase in the amount of resources that we are putting into the fight against drug abuse. We must explore all avenues, including monetary help from the EU, because this is a growing problem and it is getting bigger every year’ he told the People.    ‘I’m delighted to hear that so much cocaine was found at the weekend because every ounce found is an ounce less on the streets -but it begs the question: what amount is actually getting through undetected?’ he added.    ‘Despite the denials of certain people cocaine is now a drug of choice in every town and village in this country and that is the sad reality. There are many role models who are talking out of two sides of their mouths on this issue. They decry drug abuse during the day while at 2 am they are sniffing lines of cocaine at house parties’ he went on.   ‘I am calling on the two ministers with responsibility here, Brian Lenihan and Pat Carey (junior minister) to act immediately to tackle this very serious issue. We have to devote the appropriate level of resources to this and take it seriously or the problem will be out of hand in a few years time’ he concluded.   Meanwhile Castlerea-based GP Dr. Greg Kelly told The Roscommon People that while he has not come across cocaine abuse in his everyday practice he is certain that drug use is a growing problem in Co. Roscommon.   ‘I havn’t come across cocaine abuse in my private practice yet but I have in my work in Castlerea Prison where there are many prisoners there who have suffered from abusing cocaine’ he told the People.     ‘The main drug that I come across in my daily work outside the prison work is marajuana and I have treated many people who have abused it. I also had a recent case of a patient who was given some kind of drug in a licensed premises in Roscommon town on a Saturday night recently and he couldn’t remember a thing for the rest of the night. I don’t know what it was but it’s another sign that there are drugs everywhere now’ he said.     Dr. Kelly says that the movement of people into rural areas out of the larger cities like Dublin added to the large amount of people coming to live in rural areas from outside the country is having a big effect on the drugs situation.   ‘There is a lot of people coming to live down the country from Dublin and of course there are many people coming in here from abroad and it is all adding to the drug culture. I have no doubt that drug use is a growing problem and I would say that the majority of deaths on the roads and suicides are now down to the abuse of drugs and drink. We have to tackle the problem because it’s a reality’ he said.    Dr. Kelly is also annoyed at the status given to some drugs. ‘Look – there is no such thing as a safe drug. I hear people saying that cocaine and marajuana are recreational drugs. There is no such thing.    ‘These are dangerous drugs and people should be aware of that. They should  not have a socially acceptable status. It’s something I feel very strongly about.’    Dr. Kelly says that while it would be wrong to over-state the problem he has no doubt that  a problem exists and that it will escalate in the years to come if we are not vigilant. ‘We have to make sure we keep our eye on the ball in this regard. It’s the health of our people we are talking about so it couldn’t be a more serious matter’.