There is an epidemic in Tipperary of drug use, drug debt and threats related to drug crime and it is time for all the people of Tipperary to stand against such illicit behaviour.
The most recent Tipperary Joint Policing Committee (see page 14 of this week's Nationalist) was told that there had been a 58% increase in the possession of drugs for personal use across the Division. The figures compared the three-month period from November 2020 to January 2021 with that same period a year prior.
That is a significant increase over a relatively short space of time and it only relates to detections by gardaí. The true figure is likely much higher. There is only so much An Garda Síochána can do, they have already dented the drugs gangs and their nefarious efforts but there needs to be a major shift in attitudes for us to come to terms with this issue.
Ultimately, it is people who perpetrate these crimes; whether it is drugs possession or drug use and they need to stop, for the sake of their families, for the sake of the wider community in Tipperary. There are addiction services for those struggling to overcome the habit.
The overall number of searches within the Division increased 112% - but gardaí can’t do it on their own, there needs to be a behavioural change at a wider, societal level.
“Families are being absolutely torn asunder by drug dealers and drugs, and the knock on effect it has on families and their communities,” Cllr Shane Lee told the meeting.
That is the real cost of the epidemic sweeping across Tipperary. Chief Superintendent of the Tipperary Garda Division, Derek Smart, also said there are people who are being threatened over drug money - an issue which The Nationalist has given extensive coverage to.
We must not condone such behaviour, it should not become the norm. The gardaí are there to help you and any drug related matters should be reported to them.
It is the only way we can tackle the epidemic. One small step at a time, one drug seizure at a time, we will overcome, we will prevail, we have to, for all our sakes.