Thursday 23rd January

An Epidemic

On the way back from Galway this evening, I listened to the Drivetime programme with Mary Wilson on RTE Radio 1. On the programme she talked to a GP who deals mainly with addiction. She also talked to an addiction counsellor from Galway City.

What they had to say about the level of cocaine addiction in this country in January 2020 was astonishing and frightening. The GP talked mainly about the huge rise in the number of people who are presenting with serious addiction problems especially over the past 18 months to two years.

However it was the counsellor from Galway who outlined in detail the extent of the problem. Several times he used the word ‘epidemic’ and said he knew and understood the gravity of using that word. He outlined that now cocaine is rampant and easily available in every village and town in Ireland.

Even more frightening was that apparently the use of cocaine is now being factored into almost every celebration such as weddings, parties, christenings as well as the rampant and indiscriminate use of the drug for social purposes.

Both guests said that it was very clear that everyone who is using cocaine was feeding into the gang culture that is growing at an alarming rate in the bigger towns and cities and the associated big rise in violence that we have all seen in recent weeks and months. The people who are using even small amounts of the drug may not make any connection between private use and the bigger problem of the rise in gang crime and what is needed is a massive education programme.

The picture painted by both these people was a very disturbing one and both were agreed that the powers that be and the politicians in particular haven’t a clue as to the extent of the problem. The GP reported that the age profile of those using extends from second level students up to people in their 50’s. The demographic was equally as diverse with people across the community from the unemployed to high flying professionals all using regularly.

The big question is, what will be the implications for our society going forward? It’s not an issue that I hear coming up in election debates.

It should be.