08/01/2008

Hard Drugs Targeted By National Programme

Cocaine and heroin abuse among young people is being targeted in major new national drug awareness programme.

Drugs Strategy Minister Pat Carey said the Government was determined to stamp out the use of deadly drug cocktails that often included the use of alcohol with other substances.

His commitment came as police investigated a possible drugs link in the death of a young man following a party in Co Donegal.

And in Dublin yesterday, the Dublin City Coroner's Court heard how two young men died in toilet cubicles after separate incidents relating to heroin.

Andrew McCoy was discovered slumped in a cubicle of a Temple Bar pub by English tourists while Mark Cunningham was discovered in a toilet of an underground car park.

Verdicts of death by misadventure were recorded in both cases by coroner Dr Brian Farrell.

Fine Gael's justice spokesman Charles Flanagan said the country now faced an unprecedented problem of heroin and cocaine abuse.

"This is probably the greatest challenge the State is faced with as drug abuse hits every part of the country and affects every age and every class and social standing," he said.

However, he accused the Government of failing to co-ordinate the Departments of Health and Justice in tackling the problem.

He suggested that Drugs Strategy Minister Pat Carey did not appear to have sufficient resources because he was "caught between health and justice".

But Mr Carey rejected Mr Flanagan's claim and said there was a high degree of co-ordination between departments and all the agencies involved.

(BMcC)

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