Pubdate: Tue, 11 Dec 2007
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2007 The Irish Times
Author: Conor Lally, Ronan McGreevy, Eithne Donnellan
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


The Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy called for greater community 
support in the fight against illegal drug use.

He urged people to name drugs suppliers in an effort to tackle the 
considerable challenge caused by the illicit drugs trade. Mr Murphy 
said that he did not accept that the drugs problem was out of control.

He said that gardai would target whoever was involved and whoever was 
supplying illegal drugs such as cocaine regardless of what strata of 
society they came from.

Mr Murphy said that people who took illegal drugs were putting their 
lives on the line every day as they did not know what was contained in them.

The Garda Commissioner's comments came amid growing concern about 
cocaine use in Ireland which has been linked to a number of recent deaths.

Yesterday the Minister of State with responsibility for the national 
drugs strategy, Pat Carey, said gardai would be targeting pubs and 
clubs where they believed cocaine was being consumed in the run-up to 

He also maintained that the strategy would be attempting to reach out 
and educate people about the danger of the drug and using popular 
websites such as Bebo and Facebook "to try and get the message 
through to people in the 18 to 35-year-old age group".

Meanwhile, senior Garda sources believe that it is highly unlikely 
that a single contaminated or extremely pure batch of cocaine is 
responsible for a number of deaths and serious illnesses over recent weeks.

Senior Garda sources told The Irish Times there were no known links 
between the incidents in which two Waterford men died, the death of 
model Katy French and the events at the weekend in Mullingar and 
Longford which left two men in hospital as a result of suspected 
cocaine overdoses.

A 17-year-old teenager from Mullingar and a 26-year-old man from 
Longford town were both in the intensive care unit at the Midland 
Regional Hospital in Mullingar last night.

Their condition had improved yesterday evening from "critical" to "stable".

The Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Micheal Martin, said last 
night that he thought that lessons would be learned from recent 
cocaine-related deaths. "I think we are at a tipping point," he said.

Speaking on RTE he said that there was an opportunity to drive home 
messages particularly to the cohort of people who were using cocaine 
and other drugs. 
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