Wednesday 11 December 2019

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Harris: Drug trade a 'scourge'

Wednesday, 27th November, 2019 4:41pm

A greater focus on tackling street level dealing is to come into effect next year, a meeting in Cork heard this week.

Garda Commissioner Drew confirmed this as he addressed a Cork Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting where he described the illegal drug trade as a “scourge" on society and he stressed the need for more education around the dangers of taking illegal drugs.

He said there was several aspects that need to be addressed and one of those was public health where he added that long-term drug addicts need be treated.

He continued: “There’s also an education element and I don’t see enough public health information about the dangers of these drugs. Cannabis is very different now to what it is was 20 or 30 years ago when it used to be smuggled half way around the world. It’s now grown locally, gets to the market much quicker and it’s far more potent. It has a real detrimental effect on people’s mental health and I don’t think that’s said enough.

“There’s also not enough said about the dangers of cocaine and what it’s cut with. Not enough is said either about the violence that comes with the drugs trade.”

Commissioner Harris said that those who were taking these drugs by choice were given no thought to the “violence and despair” that comes with the drug trade.

He also said that the drug market evolves and that there will always be crime within the drugs market which he dubbed as “my problem and a problem for An Garda Síochána”.

Commissioner Harris concluded: “We’ve always had a focus on the drug trade but going into the new year, we will have a greater focus on street level dealing. That’s the very in your face dealing that people are seeing and that’s making them fearful. This will be right across the country. I do recognise what a scourge it is on society and the fear it creates in the community.”

During the same JPC meeting, Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan gave details about drug crime across Cork with the city seeing a rise in those caught in possession.

There was 154 incidents of the drugs for sale or supply in the first ten months of the year, compared with 137 during the same time period in 2018, while there was 728 instances of possessions of drugs for personal use this year compared with 578 last year. The Cork North and Cork West garda divisions, however, saw a decline in numbers for both crimes.

Sale or supply incidents are down 27 and eight in the north and west districts while possession of drugs for personal use is down 29 and 16 in the north and west.

Chief Superintendent Cadogan told the Cork Independent that there has been “significant detections” across the three garda divisions. He added: “Each drugs unit attached to the divisions are working together and are working very hard on this.”

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