Monday, July 26, 2010

Heroin use is complex and challenging but it is a challenge we must meet

There is no doubt that we have a very serious and worsening heroin problem in Waterford City. Recent H.S.E. reports have shown an increase in the numbers of people presenting for heroin addiction. Community based drug programmes are dealing with increased numbers of heroine addicts. All of the law enforcement figures point to a massive increase in heroin seizures and as a consequence heroin use.

In his presentation to the Joint Policing Committee meeting Chief Superintendent Pat Murphy said that heroin represented 20% of all drugs seized this year in Waterford. This figure points to an obvious shift away from other drugs to heroin by drug users. This is a regrettable situation but is the reality of where we are. Heroin use presents a whole new set of challenges to all agencies and drug users and their families. It is a very destructive drug. It deeply affects not just the user but their families and the wider community.

It is vital that we make people aware of the destructive nature of the drug. We need to ensure that people make the right choice and steer clear of heroin. We also need to ensure that all of the treatment and support services are in place to treat the user and support the family. The lifestyle and attitude of the user is important and they are most vulnerable post treatment as they become exposed to situations which can trigger a relapse. I have met many families whose sons, daugthers, brothers and sisters have suffered at the hands of heroin addiction. I know the issue of heroin use is complex and challenging but it is a challenge we must meet.

I acknowledge the huge amount of work being done by many agencies in combating the problem but we must re-double our efforts. I am pleased that my call for the holding of an inter-agency meeting has been accepted by the Mayor and will take place in September. We need to look at where the gaps in service provision exist and set priorities. This is a serious problem we cannot ignore or wish away.

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