Heroin is “rampant” in Limerick, according to a city councillor who revealed that he has used his own home to help addicts detox.
Former rugby international Gerry McLoughlin said he has brought “the most vulnerable” into his own home to give them a chance to come off drugs while in a safe environment.
His comments follow the deaths of twin brothers Kevin and Peter Moran who were found by their mother in a rented apartment on Wednesday. It is believed they died of an overdose.
“I’ve dealt with five or six young people. None of them had family support. One was abused as a child. I try and provide them with a mentoring scenario over five to six months or however long is needed. There’s no drugs, they get fed, they’re away from bad influences and other addicts, and they get a safe place to put their head down.
“It’s hard because it’s like teaching a child about life all over again. They’ve never known any better so I get disappointed or deflated when I see them back on the streets.”
His reasons for trying to help addicts are very personal, he said.
“A close family member — I don’t want to say who — got in to difficulty with drugs and alcohol and I took them away to a house in Clare.
“It was about 10 years ago and it was intense. It took about seven months of intense working at it. It took patience.
“There was a great family support involved, but not everyone has that. The person is now back on track,” said Labour councillor Mr McLoughlin.
The key to helping those on drugs was to take them out of the environment in which they had become addicted, he said.
“You have to remove them from where there is temptation and bad influences. I see so many young people walking the streets with nothing to do and nowhere to go. They say ‘an idle mind is a dangerous workshop’, and so many people are getting caught up in drugs.”
He said he would call on his own party leader Eamon Gilmore to send the troika out of Ireland empty-handed, if the money saved from bailing out bankers was instead spent on helping people with drug, mental, and social problems.
“If I thought the money was going to go on worthwhile projects I would make that call on the Government and my own party leader.
“Whatever about banks, we need to help vulnerable people and cure the ills that are in our communities.
“An awful lot of money is going out if this country at the moment.
“It should be distributed in a more even way within the country.”
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