Fianna Fáil local election hopeful Lisa Chambers has this week hit out at the lack of facilities to help people rehabilitate themselves if they get caught up with drugs, and has called for increased education to be given to young people about drugs.
She said: "In light of the increasing number of drugs related offences coming before the courts there was much talk recently about the drugs problem Castlebar is facing. Over the last few years we have seen an increase in drugs use in the west of Ireland. People are all too quick to criticise the Gardaí saying they are not doing enough but the reality is that the Gardaí are massively under-resourced and are doing the best they can with what they have."
Laying the blame at the Gardai is something that she said needs to be looked past and real progress needs to be made in preventing people getting involved with drugs rather than trying to cure what happens if they do. “Prevention is obviously better than a cure and we should be putting more resources into educating our young people on the dangers and consequences of drugs abuse,” she said.
"Once people have fallen into this lifestyle, what they most need is a place in a treatment facility, but it is a well known fact that places in these facilities are very difficult to get. Without this option the next step is usually prison and often people come out of prison worse than when they went in. So really we are just pushing the problem from one institution to the next, from the Gardai, to the courts, to the probation services, to the prison services, and then back out on to the streets where the likelihood of re-offending is very high. Providing education and adequate places on treatment facilities should be more of a priority as well as making sure our Gardaí are adequately resourced to do their job. We need to think outside the box and become more innovative in how we tackle this ever increasing problem because clearly the current methods are not working.”