herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Warning as abuse of crystal meth rises

THE use of crystal meth is on the rise in Ireland.

The Class A drug will soon be as widely used as cocaine, according to a leading campaigner for homeless and drug-addicted youths.

Fr Peter McVerry said the cocaine problem had yet to be addressed, we had lost the war on drugs, the criminal justice system had failed and drugs were more accessible than ever.

He urged parents to stop being so "hopelessly ignorant" and educate themselves and their children about the dangers of drug use.

"Drugs are here to stay. Parents should realise that every child over the age of 15 should be presumed to have tried drugs. Everywhere a child goes, drugs are going to be available," he said.

Fr McVerry said visiting schools to give talks to children hasn't worked and insisted parents need educating.

He claimed the problem is not being handled adequately, and called for more attention to be drawn to the topic when he spoke at the annual Getting a Grip conference.

"Communities are going to be destroyed by drugs. Crack cocaine is now a drug of choice in Dublin and is 10 times worse than heroin. It can cost an addict €3,000 to €4,000 a day.

"Crystal meth is 10 times worse than crack cocaine and has devastated communities in America. We're now seeing crystal meth here, at about the same level as crack cocaine was five or six years ago. We need to start preparing to deal with crystal meth, but we haven't yet caught up with the cocaine problem," he added.

"I wish we were back with the heroin problem. When someone came to us on heroin we knew what we were dealing with, but with crack cocaine you'd better watch out. And the next wave that's going to hit Ireland is crystal meth.

"Once this gets a hold you'd need to build a high wall around your house and get a good burglar alarm."

cmcbride@herald.ie

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