The escalating level of heroin use in Waterford and the south east has further illustrated the requirement for enhanced local services for recovering addicts along with those seeking to break the habit.
Figures released this week have revealed that Garda prosecutions for heroin in the south east rose by an astonishing 2,000 per cent between 2002 and 2007.
As recently as 2002, there wasn’t a single heroin prosecution in the Waterford/Kilkenny Garda District over the course of the calendar year. By 2007 (which is the latest available year recorded), prosecutions had risen to 75.
Given the anecdotal evidence presented to The Munster Express by parents, Councillors and Gardaí, the heroin problem in parts of the city now is considerably worse than what it was in 2007.
With that in mind, levels of addiction and, inevitably, annual prosecution rates have unquestionably escalated over the past three years.
What was once considered a ‘Dublin-centric’ narcotic is now widely available throughout the country.
Dealers and pushers in Waterford city have, in recent months, been attempting to hook schoolgoers by lacing ‘free’ cannabis joints with heroin.
The increased levels of domestic break-ins across the city, with relatively small amounts of cash being stolen from homes, have also been linked to the rise in heroin use. After all, an addict needs at least €100 a week to get their heroin fix.
Addicts, strapped for cash and desperate for their next hit, will take money from wherever they can lay their hands on it.
“The heroin battle is a complex one that requires multiple responses,” according to Sinn Féin Councillor David Cullinane.
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