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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Financial Resolution No. 9: General (resumed).

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Financial Resolution No. 9: General (resumed). (10 Oct 2019)

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...Deputy John Curran: I will refer to the problem of drugs and the increase in drug problems at present but these were not referred to at all in the budget speech…


I mentioned areas with which we were disappointed. In his 30-odd pages of budget speech, not once did the Minister allude to concerns relating to drug problems in Ireland. Global production of illicit drugs is booming and there have been record figures for the production of opium and cocaine. Total global opium production jumped 65% in one year from 2016 to 2017 and cocaine in a three-year period rose by over 50% between 2013 and 2016. At the same time as traditional illicit drugs are booming, non-medical use of opiate prescription drugs is becoming a major threat.


Cannabis remains the world's most commonly used drug. The potency of cannabis resin has risen from a decade ago. The active constituent concentration was 8% and is now more than 17%. We have a major problem with illicit drugs in this country. There is a great deal of research on this. I have no wish to get too tied down by it, but it is interesting to note the increase in seizures that An Garda Síochána is making. This clearly indicates the amount of drugs in circulation. This increased use of illicit drugs is not harmless but we are ignoring it. It is something we should pay specific attention to because the figures indicate that 730 people each year die a drug-related death. Two people a day, every day, die a drug-related death. Yet, this particular budget makes no reference to the national drugs strategy or the task forces. Task forces are facing significant challenges, including local and regional drugs task forces. Since the task forces were established 22 years ago, when they were specifically targeted, the problem has become national. Yet, core funding was cut during the recession. For the past six years, core funding to our drug and alcohol task forces has not been increased. That is a disgrace. The parent organisations, the Department of Health and the HSE, have seen significant increases in funding during that period. Yet the drug and alcohol task forces have not. The challenges and the work they are expected to do are increasing and it is a shame on the Government that it has allowed such a situation to develop over several years.

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