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stark Community leader warns gangs are at war to make money from ‘casual’ drug users

You can't dip in on a Saturday night and do your line of cocaine or smoke your bag of weed and then start complaining about all the crime and violence, you're part of the package.”


(Stock Image)

(Stock Image)

(Stock Image)

Community leader and Coordinator for Safer Blanchardstown Philip Jennings has warned that drug gangs are at war with one another to make money from casual drug users.

Jennings, who is running the Think Before You Speak campaign, said that the violence stems from turf wars to make money from weekend weed and cocaine users.

“All of the drugs gangs and all of the fighting and shooting, they're not fighting over drugs, they've loads of drugs, they're fighting over money and the control of a particular area in which to sell drugs,” he told sundayworld.com

“So if there's a feud going on in a particular area, it's really about the control of the recreational drugs market in that area.”

“Anywhere there's a drug feud, even if you look at the macro level of the Hutch-Kinahan feud, they're fighting over control of the drugs market,” he continued.

“The majority of money spent on drugs recreationally is spent on weed and cocaine at the weekends.”

“Cocaine is used in pubs and clubs and private homes across the weekend so there's an awful lot of money spent on cocaine.”

“People are either unaware or ignore the harm that money is doing,” he continued.

Safer Blanchardstown Think Before You Buy campaign is aimed at people before they ever buy drugs.

“The whole idea of it is to kick start a conversation around where the money is going, the type of harm it generates, the fact that it brings a lot of personal problems to users that are not spoken about.”

“People generally don't talk about it,” he continued.

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“They won't call 'weed' weed, they call it cannabis, it’s a bit like calling heroin milk of the poppy, so by giving it a soft cuddly name it hides the damage that it's doing.”

Jennings says that young people are lured into using cannabis because of the discourse they hear from their peers that it’s “a natural product, non-addictive, and going to be decriminalised.”

“It might be a natural product, but so is heroin, so is tobacco,” he explained.

Philip, who has previously worked in youth services, said his role is in community safety and it is not down to him to argue whether or not it should be decriminalised.

An important part of the campaign is highlighting that drugs, violence and crime come hand in hand.

“People have to realise that the drug issue, which includes all the crime and violence and drug abuse, that's a package.”

“You can't dip in on a Saturday night and do your line of cocaine or smoke your bag of weed and then start complaining about all the crime and violence, you're part of the package.”

“There's lots of things that will influence a person to start taking drugs and of those is that the discourse that it’s safe and everyone is doing it,” he continued.

“If you speak to anyone in a drug treatment centre they will tell you they never set out to be a drug addict, they only went out to have a laugh and a joke at the weekend.”

Philip regularly visits schools and communities to change the narrative around drugs and to give young people a stark warning about the dangers of buying and using them, even just recreationally.

To read more about the campaign, or to invite Think Before You Buy to give a presentation in your community you can visit their website here.

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