Lack of funding is making Limerick’s drug problem worse

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan. Photo: Mark Condren

THE continued failure to invest in groups combating drugs is having a detrimental impact in Limerick.

That’s the view of Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan who called on the government to provide more funding and resources to tackle what he described as the drugs epidemic when he raised the issue during a recent Dáil debate.

Official statistics show a rise of almost 25 per cent in the number of people treated for illegal drug use between 2009 and 2013. Upwards of 1,000 people in Limerick are addicted to heroin alone, Deputy Quinlivan told the Limerick Post.

He commended the many groups in Limerick who are working on the frontline combating the drugs problems in the city including the Community Substance Misuse Team, Limerick City Community Network, Ana-Liffey, Saoirse Addiction Treatment Centre and the Novas initiative.

“Many of these people work in very challenging conditions with limited resources and their incredible work needs to be acknowledged. Unfortunately, the continued failure by the government to properly resource these agencies in Limerick and nationwide is having a detrimental impact on the fight against drugs.

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“Continuing to underfund and under-resource these groups is simply not acceptable and is not sustainable,” Deputy Quinlivan declared.

“Limerick City has a worsening drugs problem. Heroin, the excessive use of alcohol, gambling and misuse of some prescription drugs are causing huge problems across the city.

“Local groups and people I’ve worked with and spoken to recently describe the extent of cocaine use in the city as unprecedented. I’m hearing stories of very young people being deliberately targeted and used as guinea pigs as often both heroin and cocaine are mixed together to get them immediately hooked. Now is the time to invest in tackling these issues.”

“The Mid-West Regional Drugs and Alcohol Forum have taken cuts of more than 50 per cent since 2008. Funding in 2018 sees no real increase from what was allocated in 2017. We simply need more funding to combat this.

“It is also time for the Criminal Assets Bureau to be expanded in Limerick to tackle the proceeds from drug selling and for the government to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure money seized by CAB goes back into local communities affected by drugs,” he concluded.

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