24th March 2011
At a conference held in Dublin yesterday, the Ballymum Youth Action Project called on the Government to recognise the vital role played by community drug projects. The "vicious cycle of addiction" was highlighted by project director Dermot King, who spoke about how the problem of addiction is now being passed down through generations in families. This has far-reaching implications for communities.
Speaking about providing support to children of drug users, Fr. Peter McVerry stressed the need for "major intervention" to prevent these children from becoming drug users themselves. Fr. McVerry noted that drug use in families is now spanning three generations in some cases. Recognising what he perceived to be a resistance to some interventions, he reiterated the need to support these children and their families.
A heated discussion of the media's treatment of the drugs problem also took place, with speakers Carl O'Brien (Irish Times), Ger Colleran (Irish Daily Star) and Una Mullally (TG4 and formerly of the Sunday Tribune.) The sensationalisation and glamourizing of criminals, the terminology used to describe people suffering from addictions, and the lack of balance in reporting the social background were all examined. (It was somewhat ironic then to see The Irish Times use a sensational headline when reporting on the conference - see below.)
The Ballymun Youth Action Project is Ireland's longest-running community drugs project.