Those of us who live in certain parts of Dublin and other cities and towns will be aware that there is a significant drug economy. Lots of people it would seem use all sorts of substances that can only be bought from the people who are the Dunnes Stores and Tescos of this economic demi-monde.
And that includes not only illegal drugs but stuff you can legally only get on prescription. When people refer to street dealers, most of them are not selling heroin or cocaine, but Xanax and Librium.
The day to day business of the dealers in the estates is mostly stuff you can smoke. They do more home deliveries than any take away. What is it that makes so many people seek an escape from their lives?
It is a world that has incorporated a large number of people. In some places, the paper rounds that those of us of a certain age used to do as kids have been replaced by house deliveries of weed.
At the upper end, people who no doubt otherwise cast a disdainful eye on “scobes” and “knackers” are happy to buy the marching powder that is supplied to them by gangs which mutilate and kill their minions who cross them, sometimes in the most trivial of ways.
So when someone buys their coke at the weekend, they are buying shares in the torture and murder of young people. They too make their choices, restricted no doubt by all sorts of issues, to become part of it all.
It is also the case that some of those who are at the top of this food chain are regarded as respectable citizens. Much of the drugs that have reached Ireland over a long number of years came through a privately owned airport at which there were, and perhaps still are not, customs and excise controls.
The person who owned the airport had established himself as a respectable business person with a rather unlikely back story. He was close to people in power and immune from any sort of scrutiny. Even in death there are few other than oblique references to him and none of our fearless crime fighters have dared to mention him.
So there is no disconnect between those who operate at the lower end of the drugs business and those who protect them and prosper from them at higher levels.
The real dislocation is between all of that and most people who are striving to live decent lives. It is difficult enough to achieve that in normal circumstances without also having to cope with forces of social disorder.
There are those who celebrate the seeming destruction of our society and culture. In common with all other societies we have our undoubted faults, but we have more to lose than to gain by just casting that completely aside.
The amorality of the drug gangs and the amorality of those who would have us jettison all our traditions are not unrelated.