Fianna Fáil Drugs Strategy Spokesperson, Jack Chambers TD has said that efforts must be made to reduce the increasing level of recreational drug use among young people in Ireland.

“There are differing levels of drug use which each pose different issues and require specialised approaches,” the Dublin based TD explained.

“We often discuss possible solutions to problem drug use and the need to support those in addiction, but we also need to address the growing number of young people who feel the need to take recreational drugs within their social circle.

“It is a task for us all to encourage recreational users to make the conscious connection between their use and the drug dealers and gangs that are dominating the streets of our capital.

“Every MDMA pill dropped, every line of ketamine snorted is money directly into the pockets of gangland crime barons who are also destroying lives and feeding off addictions.

“With the summer festival season in full swing, it’s important that festival goers and adolescents in particular are aware of the dangers of casual drug taking.

“The popularity of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy and MDMA means that many of the supplies entering the market are often laced with lethal contaminants. This increase in demand has made it impossible for casual users to ascertain what is in the drugs that they are taking.

“Regardless of quantity or substance, taking any kind of drug could have potentially fatal consequences. Recreational drug users have often misunderstood the properties, purity and effects of synthetic drugs.

“Examining the potential value of new approaches to recreational drug use is not to condone or normalise the personal choice to take drugs – This is about starting an honest and frank discussion about how we effectively respond to an often ignored stage of drug use among our young population.

“That conversation requires us to explore possible solutions to a broadening public health crisis and reaching as many users as possible to raise awareness, change attitudes and prevent harm.

“Our emphasis therefore remains best placed on providing education and information about the dangers of drug use, the implications it has on individual wellbeing and on the importance of taking personal responsibility.

“I am committed to reviewing new initiatives and measures including if necessary, legislative changes that are designed to deter young people from using narcotics of any kind.

He concluded “Policymakers and legislators must remember that law enforcement and harm reduction can and should co-exist.”