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  • Northside West

 Shocking drug trends emerging

Tuesday, 4th December, 2018 8:00am
 Shocking drug trends emerging

Martin Hoey (Chairperson, Finglas Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force), Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and John Bennett (Co Ordinator Finglas Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force) at the launch of the stratigic plan. Photo: Darren Kinsella

 Shocking drug trends emerging

Martin Hoey (Chairperson, Finglas Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force), Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and John Bennett (Co Ordinator Finglas Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force) at the launch of the stratigic plan. Photo: Darren Kinsella

ALARMING new trends in local drug dealing have been revealed in a strategic plan launched by the Finglas-Cabra Drug and Alcohol Task Force last week.

The new three-year plan highlights increasing numbers of violent drug lieutenants who intimidate locals to hold or store drugs on behalf of main ‘kingpin’ dealers.

Professionals involved in providing drug treatment described how there was a ‘loss of empathy’ towards gangland shooting victims while focus groups that helped inform the strategic plan reported that crime and violence generated by the local drug trade were sources of fear across the community in Finglas and Cabra.

Sixteen focus groups made up of over 200 drug users and professionals working for addiction services were involved in helping develop the 2018-2021 strategic plan.

The plan reports that despite tireless work and success of the Garda over the last five years there has been no significant change in the availability of drugs locally.

The situation hasn’t been helped by the growth in social media where customers can easily find out where they can buy drugs. Social media is also making it easier to organise home deliveries via phone numbers advertised on the likes of Facebook and Snapchat.

Another huge change in recent years has been online shopping for ‘tablets’, with some users preferring this to buying heroin.

Prescription drugs were considered by many of those interviewed to pose a more significant addiction problem than heroin had in the recent past.

Most of the focus groups reported that the starting age of drug use is getting lower with dealers now willing to sell any drugs to children as young as 13.

A consensus also existed across the various focus groups that the local drug situation has got worse since the arrival of crack cocaine.

Service users interviewed claimed an increase in burglaries, particularly in Finglas, was connected to the willingness of crack users “go the extra mile” for money to feed their habit.

All focus groups acknowledged that visible street dealing had returned to the Finglas area over the last five years. Most of the dealing is happening from 6pm onward with locations such as Cardiffsbridge, Barry Close, various parts of Finglas South, Ballygall Avenue and Fergal’s Lane used for distribution.

On street drug markets have also re-emerged in Finglas Village with dealers targeting young people on the way to and from school.

However, residents in Cabra saw a significant reduction in drug dealing when gardai maintained a high profile on their streets.

The Finglas-Cabra Drug and Alcohol Task Force strategic plan is aiming to put in place actions to help address the new trends.

“The plan contains a set of SMART objectives i.e. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Timebound,” task force chairman Martin Hoey wrote in the plan’s foreword.

“They’ve emerged from our analysis of the consultation process and of the drug problem in our area. I and all Task Force members consider this plan to be realistic and achievable in the current economic context and within the 2018-2021 timescale.”

Priorities in the strategic plan include advocating for resources to sustain efficient local alcohol and drug related services and working with partners to improve existing and develop new evidence-informed services and programmes for young people.

The task force will also seek to foster closer working between local mental health and addiction services and support the establishment of service user involvement structures so their perspective can be channelled into local services and policy.

Developing local crime prevention initiatives that reduce the impact of drug-related crime, drug-related intimidation and anti-social behaviour on the local community will also be a strategic priority. 

“On behalf of all Task Force members I recommend this plan to the community, and all of our stakeholders and look forward to working together with you on its implementation,” Hoey added.

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