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'crack tsunami' Local drugs task force hands out thousands of crack pipes in Tallaght area in bid to reduce harm

'The thinking hasn’t changed. The compassion from a Government level has not come through to actually introduce real, positive interventions in people’s lives'

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The scale of the problem has been highlighted in the new report. Stock image

The scale of the problem has been highlighted in the new report. Stock image

The scale of the problem has been highlighted in the new report. Stock image

Close to 4,000 crack pipes were handed out to drug users in Tallaght by a local task force, a shocking new report reveals.

The level of crack cocaine addiction in the Dublin suburb was highlighted with the launch of the report by the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF) on Monday morning, with references to an “epidemic” and “tsunami” by frontline workers.

Entitled ‘The Landscape of Substance Misuse and its Impact on the Communities of Tallaght’s Drugs and Alcohol Task Force’, the report reveals that the task force had given out 3,866 crack pipes up to September 2021 as part of their harm reduction service.

Senator Lynn Ruane, who is from the area, worked in addiction services in Bluebell before she began her political career.

As she launched the report in Killinarden, Senator Ruane revealed how she experienced at first hand the extent of the problem in the area.

“I remember when we first started giving out crack pipes in Bluebell, when I worked there in 2010,” she said.

“We were not regulated to do so, but we were ordering them from China and were giving them out up and down the Luas line.

“Crack was going from (Dolphin’s Barn) up and down to Bluebell and we’d jump on and we’d be giving out crack pipes.

“That was 2010 and 2011. And just to see, still, how exasperating the issue has become and how big the issue is.

“And the investment is actually at pre-2008 levels. So I’m talking about something that had massive prevalence 15 years ago and the investment hasn’t changed.

“The thinking hasn’t changed. The compassion from a Government level has not come through to actually introduce real, positive interventions in people’s lives.

“And services like [the one] we’re in today are firefighting. And they should no longer be firefighting. They should be able to take their time and their resources to be creative in what they do with people.

“To actually be able to have the freedom to think and go, ‘What else can we do? What else can we introduce into people’s lives?’

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“But we can’t do that if we’re literally in crisis mode, crisis management all the time.”

The scale of drug and alcohol addiction is among the highest in the country, the report found, and is growing at the fastest rate with 75 per cent of new cases presenting in 2020 coming from the TDATF area.

Drug-related crime in the area also increased by 75 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

Some 33 per cent of the more than 400 people who are in regular contact with the task force are woman, the report added.

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