Crystal Meth is quickly becoming Ireland’s newest problem drug. The drug’s use, considered the most addictive and most dangerous, is soaring throughout the country as both gardai and health counsellors attempt to squash its growth.
The Irish Sunday Mirror reports on the terrifying new statistics regarding Crystal Meth in Ireland. Experienced drug worker Father Peter McVerry said to the Irish newspaper that “Crystal meth has destroyed whole communities in America, and it about to do the same here.”
Fr McVerry went on to refer to crystal meth as the “drug of choice” in Ireland now, pointing to the fact that it’s relatively cheap and easy to get. Reportedly increasing sexual arousal, the drug is becoming popular in the club scene.
“Every drug that comes along seems to be worse than the last one. Crack cocaine was taking a hold but now its crystal meth and that to me is 10 times worse than crack,” said Fr McVerry.
Crystal meth comes in the form of white ice crystals and can be smoked like crack through a pipe. It’s a powerful form of speed that produces a rush that can last up to 12 hours, but includes a debilitating crash afterwards. The resulting crash drives users to take more of the drug to feel better.
Driving its popularity is its price. For around €25, a user can buy a rock of meth, about half the price of crack.
Gardai are growing very alarmed by the increase in Crystal Meth present in Ireland. In what is reported to be the largest single seizure of the drug, 2.5kg of Crystal Meth was seized at Dublin Airport this past September with an estimated street value of €250,000. The haul was taken from a 39 year old man arriving from Lesotho, Africa.
Seizures in Offaly as early as 2006, and Tralee in Co Kerry in 2009 show that the drug use has expanded from urban areas and has begun to invade rural communities.
Detective Sergeant Brian Roberts from the Garda National Drugs Unit said that while there is an apparent increase in crystal meth use, it has yet to reach “epidemic proportions.”
“Unlike heroin, addiction to this drug is difficult to treat as there is no obvious substitute, so it can be difficult to know the exact numbers of those actually using it,” said Det Sergeant Roberts.
“It is now sold hand-in-hand with heroin. A lot of heroin users will now buy a rock of crack or some crystal meth for a hit and then use their heroin for the comedown,” he added.
Det Sergeant Roberts believes much of the crystal meth in Ireland has originated in Eastern European countries and that production of the highly addictive drug in Ireland is not occurring on a large scale.
“But there are labs in Eastern Europe where crystal meth is produced quite regularly. The Eastern Europeans have become particularly expert at producing meth.”
Father Peter McVerry, whose charity the PMV Trust provides long-term housing for recovering addicts, has called on the Government to help alleviate the problem before it becomes unmanageable.
Fr McVerry firmly believes that addicts who wish to quit their habit should have the opportunity to enter facilities immediately and not be subjected to a three year waiting period.
He has added that treating crystal meth addicts is very difficult. “The only way to do it is through counselling and to convince them to stay away from it, much in the same way as you have to do with people addicted to cocaine and crack.”
“It [crystal meth] makes people extremely violent and I have noticed the aggression levels rising over the past few years,” added Fr McVerry who says that though he has been working to help reduce the problem for some years now, he’s concerned not enough else is being done about the growing issue.
“A lot of random violence and killings that you see now with guns and knives can be attributed to drugs like crystal meth and crack.”
Fr McVerry is calling for the standardization of crystal meth treatment at clinics across the country. “What we need is for every clinic in the country to have clear information and pictures of the dangers of meth and how an addiction to it can totally destroy people’s lives.”
“But not enough of this is being done. There is a system here where funding for drug treatment is only ever provided after the drugs become a problem. But the money should be provided before the drugs become a problem, because by then it is invariably too late.”
Images from the documentary “Faces of Meth” shows the devastating effect of the drug: