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Dessie Ellis says cocaine everywhere, including the Dáil

A Sinn Féin TD has said that cocaine is seen everywhere – “even in Dáil Éíreann” – as statements on a Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use were heard today.

Dublin North-West TD, Dessie Ellis, said that education on drugs was needed because cocaine had become a “major substance” in Irish society.

“Cocaine has become a major substance use in our society. You see it in pubs, you see it everywhere, it’s even in Dáil Éireann,” he told the Dáil.

“We’ve seen all these [places] where it’s become acceptable. Education is needed, we need to teach people that this is unacceptable.”

Recruitment for the Citizens’ Assembly is to begin this week, with the first meeting set for mid-April.

Moving the motion to open the Assembly, Minister of State at the Department of Health, Hildegarde Naughton, said: “Directly or indirectly, illicit drugs use affects all of us. No matter what our gender, age or socioeconomic background, whether we live in rural or urban areas, no one is immune from the risks or harm caused by illicit drugs use.”

“Some of the harmful effects of drug use are hidden and opaque. More often, they stare us in the face. We see the devastating toll addiction takes on people’s lives. We see the needless and often preventable loss of life through overdose and disease transmission. We see the impact of drug-related violence and intimidation in communities throughout the country,” she added.

“Too many families have lost loved ones through addiction. I believe there is a strong consensus in this House and among the public that the State and society generally need to respond far more effectively to the problems caused by illicit drugs use.”

One of the more contentious issue under examination by the Assembly will be decriminalisation of drugs.

Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAullife said he beieves Irish society needs to look at decriminalisation. “I think that will help us treat people with addiction and that’s where my focus is,” he told RTE.



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