Cllr John Gilligan: ‘Drugs are not just a cops problem’
The long term use of even low level drugs like cannabis can leave users with “scrambled brains” according to a former mayor of Limerick who has called for a collaborative approach to tackling drug abuse in the city.
Councillor John Gilligan made the call at a recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee, at which he also made claim to have witnessed a drug user injecting outside his home.
“Drugs are not just a cops problem,” cllr Gilligan said. “They’re a huge social problem.”
“Long term abuse of cannabis can leave people with scrambled brains. I woke up this morning to see a fella injecting across the road from me.”
“The issue of drugs shouldn’t just be about policing,” he added. “Drug (abuse) is something that is getting progressively worse.”
“Take a look at national campaigns; there are safety campaigns for driving and coming into the summer we will have safe swimming campaigns.”
“When do we see a campaign against drugs? When you see the damage that even low-level drugs like cannabis does and the prevention that we need is non-existent.”
“In the City it is believed there are 1,000 users of heavier stuff and where do we have the rehabilitation centre?”
The new Chief Superintendent for Limerick Gerard Roche agreed with cllr Gilligan that tackling drug abuse is a multi-agency issue.
Although crimes for drugs across the Limerick district are down for the first three months of 2018 when compared to the same time last year, they still remain a serious issue, Chief Supt Roche said.
“There is a level of heroin abuse here that’s going up and we need all agencies,” he said.
At the meeting, Chief Supt Roche said he is interested in running a number of potential campaigns that will include input from the community.
“There is much more interest if it’s not just focused on the garda aspect,” he said. A drugs education programme could also be incorporated into a future joint-policing strategy, senior executive officer for Limerick City and County Council Christy O’Connor added.