be kind | 

TD calls for campaign to help stop stigma around the word ‘junkie’

"No one likes to feel judged or devalued"
Paul McAuliffe

Paul McAuliffe

Clodagh Meaney

Fianna Fáil TD Paul McAuliffe has called for a campaign to stop stigma around the word ‘junkie’ and has said drug and alcohol addiction should be treated as a health condition.

It comes as a similar campaign was launched in Scotland.

Applauding the Scottish movement, the former Lord Mayor of Dublin said people are being urged to stop using words such as ‘junkie’ and encouraged to adopt a kinder approach to those affected.

"We know that negative perceptions commonly associated with addiction and substance abuse can often prevent those suffering from coming forward and seeking the treatment they need,” he explained.

“Often this stigma can be internalised which can severely impact their self-esteem and self-worth.”

"No one likes to feel judged or devalued and in order to encourage people to reach out for help and get on the path to recovery, it is important to reduce the stigma surrounding their situation.£

To stigmatise someone is always wrong but to stigmatise someone suffering from a medical condition is particularly cruel.”

"I am calling on my colleagues in Government to follow Scotland’s lead and seriously consider a similar campaign here in Ireland. "

There was a seven-fold increase in the value of cocaine and heroin seized by Revenue last year

There was a seven-fold increase in the value of cocaine and heroin seized by Revenue last year

In November, Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell said that social drug users were part of the complex drug problem in Dublin City.

“We had a heroin epidemic many years ago in the city. It’s more complex now - not only have you crack cocaine, but you have all these synthetic drugs which people are taking at weekends ‘socially or recreationally’.”

“That’s the normalisation… starting to take drugs has become as normal as going out for a pint. Once that happens, it becomes extensive, endemic and insidious."

“People who take them at weekends who are affluent, [think] ‘I can wash my hands of this, it’s nothing to do with me’, but they’re contributing to the problem.”

“The causes are deep, and they're complex. You have conditions of poverty and social disadvantage on the one hand, and you've another on the other side - affluence. Both of these are playing into the whole epidemic that we have at the moment.”

"They’re fuelling the situation, and making it lucrative for the people who bring in these drugs. People like that can’t wash their hands [of it], or consider that they haven’t got blood on their hands.”

In November, Tallaght Drug & Alcohol Taskforce reported that the number of people seeking help for drug addiction in the area has doubled in the past 10 years.

They also said that while funding has decreased by 5% of the last 10 years also, drug related crime in the area has hit an all time high, rising 75% since 2018.

So far this year, more than 51 million worth of drugs have been seized by Gardaí during various raids and discoveries in the last year.

Fingal TD Alan Farrell said of the figures: “Large parts of the city are awash with drugs; it has become a pervasive force in our society.”

A causal acceptance of many substances has led to more commonplace drug use, one that is often more subtle than in bygone decades.”

In 2020 it was reported that Ireland was three times above the European average when it came to drug related deaths.

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