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Blanchardstown taskforce highlights increasing numbers of children dealing drugs

Children as young as 10 are being used by older dealers both for dealing and drug running.

Image: Shutterstock

A NEW REPORT from a Dublin drug and alcohol taskforce has noted easy access to drugs in west Dublin, facilitated in part by an increase in the number of under 18s dealing.

The report, launched recently by the Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force found evidence of drug use during school hours in nine out of 10 local secondary schools in 2018.

According to the taskforce, the use of young people as dealers allows for easy access to customers as young people distribute drugs to their peers and friends.

“The use of minors for drug distribution has been a long-standing method used by older, larger scale dealers, as due to their age there are fewer criminal consequences.

The taskforce has collected four years of data in the Blanchardstown area and noted that since the second year of research, an increase in the number of under 18s dealing drugs has been noted.

“The normalisation of drug use may influence a young person’s decision to become involved in drug dealing as they may not identify the negative consequences of such behaviour.”

Among under 18s in drug treatment, cannabis herb was the most commonly used drug followed by alcohol over the four years. However from Year 2 onwards, there was an increase in the use of cocaine.

The report also looked at the prevalence of mental health issues in the area, with service providers telling the taskforce there as an increase in the incidence of mainly anxiety related issues among children and young people.

“Poor mental health is a risk factor for drug use which identifies the importance of early intervention.”

A total of 545 children and young people were treated for mental health issues or disorders in Jigsaw Dublin 15 in 2018.

Service providers reported the following personal, familial and environmental factors that compromised youth mental health:

  • Drug and/or alcohol use;
  • Lack of mental health protective factors such as resilience skills;
  • Parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues;
  • Child neglect;
  • Poverty;
  • Homelessness.

“These factors affected children’s educational attendance and attainment,” the report stated.

“For some young people their education was further hampered by their parents’ poor educational attainment. Service providers reported the need to increase access to youth mental health services. The negative impact of inter-generational drug use and deprivation on young people was apparent.”

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