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  • Northside West

Drug gangs exploit kids

Monday, 4th March, 2019 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Drug gangs exploit kids

Teenagers and sometimes preteens are being coerced into drug dealing and drug running in Dublin 15 according to the report.

Drug gangs exploit kids

Teenagers and sometimes preteens are being coerced into drug dealing and drug running in Dublin 15 according to the report.

ORGANISED drug gangs in Dublin 15 are exploiting children as young as eight-years-of-age to supply drugs in local communities.

A recently published study by Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force (BLDATF) found that the number of teenagers involved in drug running and drug dealing was a major factor contributing to ease of access to narcotics. The study suggests an increase in the number of under 18s dealing and running drugs may be related to drug debt intimidation, where young people are forced to hold and sell drugs to pay off debts.

It found the average age of drug dealers under 18 was just 14 with the youngest being just 10-years-old. Drug runners, usually used to transport drugs between dealers, have an average age of 13, with the youngest aged just eight.

“Under 18 drug runners and dealers were predominately male though females aged from 12 also engaged in these activities,” the report reads.

It’s believed many of the youngsters involved in the drug trade have older siblings who are dealers. Participants of the study reported the perception that young people were attracted to drug dealing as a way to make ‘easy money’ and to increase their social status.

The use of minors for drug distribution has been a long standing method used by older, larger scale dealers as there are less criminal consequences due to their age.

The study also says there’s evidence of drug dealing in six out of 10 local secondary schools.

The study was compiled using the unique Drug and Alcohol Trends Monitoring System (DATMS) developed by BLDATF to provide up-to-date information about drug and alcohol use in Dublin 15.

This is the third year the study has been published.

In all three years of the DATMS the normalisation of drug use has featured prominently, along with the common perception is that drugs are widely used, risk free and socially acceptable.

Dublin West TD, Jack Chambers (FF), said the most recent study exposes the growing prevalence of coercing and exploiting children to supply drugs in our communities.

“Organised crime gangs operating in Dublin 15 appear to be targeting teenagers to handle drugs, knowing that they are far less likely to attract attention,” he said.

“It also removes the risk of gang members themselves getting caught with supplies.

“The promise of a lucrative lifestyle tends to prove too irresistible for these teenagers. Supplying and dealing drugs in return for quick cash is easy when in their minds there’s little or no sanction for getting caught with quantities of Class A drugs.

“Younger generations may not necessarily be aware that a criminal conviction for drug offences can have a major impact on a person’s future prospects including when it comes to future employment and travel.

“We cannot assume that parents are encouraging their children to steer clear of the dangers associated with illegal drugs.

“Sadly in some cases it can be a parent or family member getting them involved.”

Deputy Chambers also highlighted the “good, proactive work” happening locally to tackle drug issues and said there was support available for anyone who was eager to cut their ties to drugs.

“We need to get the word out about these services,” he added.

“Local schools have been setting their own standard too in relation to the education of drugs, but this is not a trend that is exclusive to our area.

“It is therefore essential that the Department of Education adopt a comprehensive programme for educating every student about the danger of narcotics.

“The real worry would be that without education, these young people become trapped in the industry and graduate into adult criminality that’s difficult to interrupt or put a halt to. With that in mind, now is the time to act.”

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