Pubdate: Wed, 02 Feb 2000
Source: Irish Times (Ireland)
Copyright: 2000 The Irish Times
Contact:  11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: + 353 1 671 9407
Author: Kitty Holland


The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, the Tanaiste, Ms Harney, and representatives
from the main churches were among the attendance at an ecumenical
service in Dublin last night to commemorate those who have died of
drug abuse in Dublin.

The service was in Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Sean
McDermott Street. The area has a severe heroin problem.

The large gathering heard words from the main church leaders, a
message from the Pope and music from the singer Christy Moore. The
Liturgy was delivered by Father Michael Casey.

In his message on behalf of the Pope, Cardinal Angelo Sodano said His
Holiness was "particularly close to those who [had] been bereaved by
the loss of family members and friends through drug abuse.

"Since drug-trafficking is the source of so much suffering and so many
wasted lives, it seriously undermines the fabric of society, making it
necessary for all to be united in the resolve to eliminate it."

A spokeswoman for Citywide Family Support Network, Ms Sadie Grace,
said the number of mainly young people who had died in Dublin as a
result of overdose, suicide, AIDS or other drugs related illnesses over
the past five years was estimated at about 1,000, "But it could be
three times that."

She called for an increase in funding for families dealing with drug
addiction. Despite the efforts of the Eastern Health Board, including
its increase in the number of treatment centres and
methadone-dispensing chemists, the problem was spreading across the
city and beyond.
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