Sinn Fein deputy Maurice Quinlivan believes the amended Bill doesn’t go far enough
SINN Fein deputy Maurice Quinlivan has called on the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Government to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure that money seized by the bureau goes back into the communities affected by drugs.
Deputy Quinlivan highlighted that Limerick city has no local drugs task force, nor does the city have a detoxification centre, in spite of “a worsening drugs problem”.
“Limerick, like the rest of the country, needs detox spaces, properly resourced drug treatment services and an end to policies that reproduce deprivation and socio-economic exclusion in communities.
“In Limerick, drugs are still a huge factor in the city’s informal economy, and criminal elements continue to make huge profits while destroying communities and trading in misery,” he said.
Deputy Quinlivan who is a member of the Mid-West Regional Drug and Alcohol forum said that it has suffered funding cuts of more than 50% since 2008.
He was specifically commenting on the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016, which he claims “will do nothing to assist drug-ravaged communities”.
“If the Minister of State [Catherine Byrne] had a bit of imagination, she could redirect money seized from criminals to fund directly organisations delivering vital services in the field. That would be an important step in the battle against drug crime.
“We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend in the face of research proving otherwise that criminalising already disadvantaged people will help to solve this very human problem, but it will not.
“Children in their very early teens and even younger are becoming addicted to antidepressants like Xanax and other prescription drugs. I know first-hand the effect that abuse of Xanax and other prescription tablets has on young people and I can only describe it as the worst type of addiction to get off.
“Drug and alcohol counsellors have noted that it can take anything up to three years for some of these teenagers to come off this type of addiction properly. They are buying prescription-type drugs online which are not from the most credible sources. Xanax is a drug used to treat depression but they are mixing it with drink to get high and it is certainly not meant for that.”
The Bill provides for a series of amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.