Publicans to help combat heroin use

THE escalation of heroin use in a Co Waterford town has prompted publicans to print 10,000 beer mats listing places where users of the class A drug can get help.

The initiative is being run in conjunction with the gardaí but is being funded by the vintners’ federation in the Dungarvan area.

It gets under way next weekend and will involve the beer mats being distributed to nearly 50 pubs. The campaign will also increase education and awareness among pub staff and is a follow-on from a seminar held by publicans in the local Park Hotel last October which focused on issues such as public order problems caused by people who had consumed too much alcohol.

“Drugs and their misuse will always be an issue; however a worrying aspect is the presence of heroin in the locality and the increase in growing cannabis. The misery associated with drug misuse is a well-known social ill.

“This campaign is just one of the many strategies for tackling this issue,” said Superintendent Tom O’Grady. He added that gardaí already carry out a lot of anti-drugs education for schoolchildren and parents and they are always on hand to attend meetings on the topic.

John McGrath of Dungarvan Vintners Association said its members wanted to provide information to make their customers aware of the help that is available.

Sergeant Andrew Geary, who acts as a Garda liaison officer for local publicans, said the beer mats would provide easy-to-understand information.

“On one side there will be drugs information and on the reverse will be the details of the local community drugs worker Tracy Nugent from the Waterford Community Drugs Initiative,” said Sergeant Geary.

He said that Ms Nugent is based in Dungarvan and is often the first point of contact for drug users, their friends and family.

“I hope that the campaign is a success and that more people will access the services of the Community Drugs Partnership.” Ms Nugent said.

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