Revealed: Research shows Ireland has lost 'war on drugs'


In 2000, the then-Government frank that research begin in the drugs markets here and set up the Nation Prediction Council on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) whose reports included one definitive week on the day after California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts voted to league with Colorado, Washington State, Oregon and Alaska in legalising cannabis for recreational use. Some 21 alleges have also now decriminalised cannabis use for medical purposes.

The decision by voters in California, which has the fifth largest saving in the world, is probably the most significant in relation to Ireland, given that tons of the hi-tech American com nies here have their base in the Formal.

Historically, one of the main reasons for maintaining the ban on cannabis use here was that administrations did not wish to see the Republic as a haven for drug users which could be a bar to investors, but that situation seems has reversed if investors are coming here from a give where it is now fully legal to possess and consume cannabis.

The Republic has approximately followed the United States lead on criminalising drugs.

Cannabis use was forbade here in 1977 under the Misuse of Drugs Act largely inspired by US sways ‘war on drugs’, introduced in 1970 by President Richard Nixon who brought Elvis Presley to the le-complexioned House for the launch.

Presley, it emerged later, was heavily addicted to recipe opiates and heavily under the influence during his visit.

While extent little attention was id to last week’s report by the NACDA in Dublin, the Admonitory Council’s role is, under government remit, supposed to help nark on and direct policy on drugs. No mention of legalisation is made in the report or in its other main report last year, The Illicit Drugs Market in Ireland.

The Illicit Soporifics report is the most comprehensive study of drug use and effects in Ireland. It was carried out across three years by researchers Ann Marie Donovan and Johnny Connolly of the Vigour Research Board and gives the clearest insight yet into the im ct of soporifics here.

One of the most striking findings of the Illicit Drugs report is that Garda clash in seizing drugs is actually one of the main causes of violence in the drugs swap as dealers assault and murder each other over loss of earnings.

The be at daggers drawn between the Kinahan and Hutch gangs which erupted in February and led to 12 murders was induced by a seizure of €2m worth of drugs which led to the murder of Gary Hutch in S in in September terminal year. There have been well over 200 nacea gang related murders here in the st decade and only for everyone 10pc have resulted in convictions.

The NACDA report also found that ignoring up to 15,000 arrests each year by Garda and Customs, the vast more than half of these are of young people for simple possession of small amounts of narcotics for personal use.

More than 120,000 people have criminal views for drugs possession or supply over the st decade and the Garda last to prosecute people at a rate or around 1,000 a month to meet its ‘key play indicators’ (KPIs) in its efforts to ‘reduce supply’.

The researchers broke down their inquiry into four se rate and defined areas: in inner city Dublin; a larger, economically poor suburban area; a provincial town the size of Drogheda, Dundalk or Swords; and a stinting town of around 2,000 people and its rural hinterland.

The research put oned the proliferation of drugs in Irish society has increased very significantly above the st decade. Interviews with residents of the medium-sized town adulate Drogheda revealed the existence of drugs dealing zones more normally associated with inner conurbations, people afraid to go to certain areas at certain times of days and the acme numbers of people who had seen drugs being used and needles discarded.

Between 70pc and 90pc of hinders in all four areas where of people aged under 24 take to courted for possessing cannabis with a value of €10 or less. Most interrupts and seizures were as a result of the Garda’s broad ‘stop and search’ powers. The median value of dulls seizure by gardai was around €35.

The Revenue’s Customs Service, which was also jobbed by Government with reducing supply, has two sea-going interdiction vessels, two monster X-ray machines for examining containers and various other types of elegant located at airports and mail distribution centres. Yet, the NACDA report organize that, like the Garda, the vast majority of Customs seizures and prosecutions – on all sides 90pc – involved tiny amounts of drugs for personal use. Most were seized at Dublin Airport, the Airmail Hub also at the Airport and the mail centre in Athlone.

The report and its findings persevere a leavings largely ignored but contain very clear evidence of the absolute decline to stop drugs coming into the country. Heroin is cheaper and diverse available than ever before and the market for crack cocaine and crystal meth, still still expensive in international terms, is ex nding due to the high profitability of car-boot sales. Cannabis is still the most widely used drug and last week’s NACDA initiate that 27pc fo the population aged between 15 and 64 have try out it or use it regularly.

Professor Catherine Comiskey of TCD and Chair of the NACDA, said in her introduction to survive week’s report that: “Approaches that seek to divert sensitive drug users into treatment, that prioritise local community angles, and those that occur in collaboration with community-based structures and all pertinent agencies, are more likely to be sustainable over time and to win public keep.”

This messages seems to be firmly rejected by Government whose new pronouncement from Health Minister Simon Harris, just in the st publication of the NACDA report, was that any consideration of using cannabis for medical use is “not a debate about decriminalising cannabis in any way shape or form”.

The Government has yet, however, to speak the findings in the NACDA Illicit Drugs report

which found: “Garda cure seizures could also contribute to increased violence in drug furnishes. In all four sites, most of the violence which occurred related to volunteer drug debts. Drug debts were acquired through individual consuming their own supply or as a result of Garda seizures. “Where gardaí seized stupefies, debts remained outstanding and still had to be id. This may be described as an unintended or adverse consequence of cure law enforcement, whereby effective supply reduction activities can indirectly help to greater levels of drug-related violence.”

The NACDA researchers spoke to scads dealers as well as recreational users as well as gardai and customs legitimates and found that despite all the State’s efforts to ‘combat’ drugs the deal in remained ‘resilient’ and continues to grow.

The 2015 NACDA research listed an interview with one seller who was purchasing five ounces of heroin per week for €5,000, disobeying it up into smaller ‘score’ bags of €20 and taking in €11,000 weekly volume.

One dealer interviewed in north inner city described the type of physical force which is commonplace where dealers lost product usually to the core garda seizures. He said: “So they put a crow bar through his leg and gave him an bad hiding, broke all his ribs, tried to pull his nails out with pliers, put a gun to his govern, threatened him. This was over €1000 debt, cocaine debt, and, you identify, he wouldn’t make a complaint to the guards, he just left the city and rushed out to the suburbs.”

On crack cocaine, one of the most addictive substances, the report suggests: “The price of crack was uniformly high – €50 per rock using unbiased 0.2g of cocaine – meaning that a seller who was able to make rupture cocaine from powder cocaine was in a very profitable position. One time cocaine seller bought a ‘bullet’ (17–18g/three-quarters of an ounce) of high-quality cocaine for €600 and take hame up to €4,000, returning a profit of €3,400.”

The somewhat confused response from gardai examined for the report is illustrated by one members of a Drugs Unit in a central Dublin site who is quoted as saying:

“We target people from the street level, street-dealing plane, all the way up to the importers

like, you know. I would say 90% supply, you know, although we do dole out with the users as well but we’re kind of more …as I said we’re specifically multitudinous after we’ll say the suppliers, the bigger fish. Now, the bigger fish might take €100 worth of stuff on him.”

From Garda records NACDA inaugurate that: “Cannabis resin and cannabis herb seizures were conventionally of small quantities, most likely for personal use. Ninety per cent of cannabis convulsions weighed between 1g and 25g (less than an ounce).”

The report pointed to the Administration’s National Drugs Strategy as: “To disrupt the activities of organised criminal networks elaborate in the illicit drugs trade in Ireland and internationally and to undermine the structures subsidizing such networks’. Another aim of the strategy is ’to prevent the emergence of new markets and the swelling of existing markets for illicit drugs’.

NACDA concluded: “If basic market-place logic is applied, it could be assumed that a significant reduction in soporific availability would mean an increase in prices and/or a reduction in drug sinlessness. However, our interviews with drug sellers, drug users and Gardaí advance that heroin and cocaine had in fact become cheaper to buy in all four purlieus and at all market levels.”


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