Minister for State with responsibility for drugs and communities, Pat Carey, conceded this week that heroin use is prevalent in all parts of the country.

He was responding to data from the Health Research Board pointing to an increasing problem – many would say crisis – particularly outside of Dublin.

In today’s edition (section 2) we report on the growth of heroin use in Waterford. “I fully accept the view that the provision of treatment services is vital to address the needs of problem drug users,” Mr Carey said – a reference to calls by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs for investment in treatment services.

“I have never been under any illusion in terms of the challenge of trying to keep ahead of the drugs issue,” he insisted. “The situation is forever changing… A couple of months ago that was head shops and we are now back to heroin and are speaking more of the need for rehabilitation, detox beds and so on.”

Applauding the work being done by frontline agencies, he added: “Anyone who would like to learn more about what it is doing in the area of treatment, rehabilitation and so on need only visit St Francis Farm in Tullow, Co Carlow, which provides a range of services in state of the art premises.” There’s also a facility in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny, which provides services for under-18s.

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