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Some Irish communities 'severely affected' by intimidation over drug debt, EU report says

The EU Drug Markets Report 2019 was launched today in Brussels.

Where cannabis originates and travels to in Europe.
Where cannabis originates and travels to in Europe.
Image: EU Drugs Market Report 2019

MANY COMMUNITIES IN Ireland have been “severely affected” by disciplinary intimidation related to drug debt, an EU drugs report has said. 

The EU Drug Markets Report 2019 said that many Irish communities have felt “major impacts” on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities along with the functioning of local services and agencies as a result of intimidation from those involved in selling drugs. 

The report, launched earlier today in Brussels, described how the violence and corruption usually seen in traditional drug-producing countries outside the European Union are now increasingly evident in member states. It examined the drugs market and described how it is a major source of income for organised crime groups across the EU. 

Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship said: “Organised crime groups are quick to seize new opportunities for financial gain and are increasingly exploiting technological and logistical innovations to expand their activities across international borders.”

Avramopoulos added that the illicit drug market “remains a threat to the health and security” of EU citizens. 

Fig1.1-MarketSizeEstimate-01102019 The minimum size estimate for the EU retail drug market, based on 2017 data. Source: EU Drugs Market Report 2019

04_Overview_Heroin_14102019 Overview of the heroin market in Europe in 2017. Source: EU Drug Markets Report 2019

Out of the more than €30 billion spent by Europeans on drugs each year, nearly 40% is spent on cannabis and one-third on cocaine. 

An estimated 181 million people aged 15-64 around the world used cannabis in the last year. 24.7 million people aged 15-34 in the EU used cannabis in the last year. 

The report said drug distribution networks in Ireland are structured in a three-tier hierarchy, which has some parallels with the gang model in Scotland.

This involves a lower tier of disadvantaged young people who bully and spread fear on behalf of the network and a middle tier of other young people who transport drugs, carry guns and complete shootings. 

The highest tier consists of serious players, often formed around a central group of kin, who control the other two levels.  

The report said there has been an increase in EU countries reporting Spain as the origin of herbal cannabis seizures. This cannabis is brought from Spain directly to Ireland and the UK

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