Tragically, there’s no problem getting coke anymore

Infamously, some years back, there was that quip from a well-known national figure in which he said: ‘you can’t get good coke in this town’ – meaning Dublin.

Now, it’s impossible to find any town or small village in any part of Ireland, including here in Kerry, where cocaine is not to be found.

The so-called ‘marching powder’ has created a heavy dust coat of misery throughout the country and has now overtaken heroin as the main problem drug in cases reported to the Health Research Board.

Last year, 66 people in Kerry sought help for cocaine use, which is almost three times the number seeking help in 2015. We’re in deep trouble.

In fact, the picture is much worse than that figure suggests – because, it’s not until real difficulties arise that people admit they need help.

There are many more people in Kerry, perhaps multiples, who are abusing cocaine and have not yet found the courage to do something about it.

The threat from cocaine has not had the kind of public health response, backed up by law enforcement, that’s required.

It needs to be explained to younger people in particular, over and over again, the true costs and damage that arise from using illegal drugs, such as cocaine.

This is apart altogether from the financial cost, paying out hard cash which goes straight into the pockets of thugs and organised gangs involved in rampant criminality up to and including people trafficking, slavery and murder.