Yesterday we saw the tragic funeral of Katy French and also the removal of John Grey who died this weekend following the death of Kevin Doyle also. Such terrible times for all families involved; Christmas around the corner and nothing can offer comfort to those who have lost loved ones. Last night I sat down eagerly awaiting a Primetime documentary on the state of cocaine usage in Ireland. Hence I sat through the news at 9. I was amazed to see the funeral of Katy French take centre stage as the main headline when a much later article focussed on the deaths of about 11 people on our roads this week and 2 of them in Galway in the last 24 hours. The reasons behind Katy’s death have not yet hit the mainstream news and as such there is no lesson to be learned from this. The car crash victims however could have sent a vital safety message to anyone who didn’t change station after the main headline. Maybe it’s because none of the victims in Galway were “young male drivers”, perhaps if we had a situation whereby the drivers were u-25 then it would have made the main headline. Nobody wants to hear that people aged 40+ can crash and kill themselves and others. — throws eyes to heaven —
Anyway following the news, the Primetime documentary commenced. In all it was an interesting documentary that showed the ineptitude of the customs services to do random checks on vehicles without the country’s only x-ray scanner that moves from port to port giving drug trafficers a timetable to work to. It also showed a seemingly massive number of public houses in this country that have a protruding boxed in cistern for the toilet. Now it may sound strange to say that but it struck me as unusual as I’ve hardly ever been in a public bathroom that doesn’t have the cistern behind a fake wall rather than boxed in with a marble shelf for cocaine snorters to use conveniently. In addition, the testimony given to the ease of availability of the drug was staggering. Yep, drunken people in the early hours of the morning falling around the streets being interviewed with respect to the acquisition of cocaine. The answers were along the lines of (in your best slurred accent) “ah ye sure, Jaysus I’m a superman, I could get you whatever, that lad over there no wait it’s a girl, what did you want again, sure I’ll look after you”; you get the picture. Finally what annoyed me the most was that in a documentary that should have been highlighting the widespread usage of cocaine as a drug affecting the full complement of society the documentary chose to focus purely on lower class criminals and such rather than probing the rich and famous – an attempt to distance recent events from this problem perhaps?
What always really amazes me however is the statement that society is riddled with drugs. That drugs are everywhere and across the entire spectrum of our community and most recently that Waterford has hit the news, that Waterford is supposedly drug-riddled. I’ve lived in Waterford all my life: I’ve been in pubs and clubs since the age of 17, some places that were even later revealed as drug hotspots. For well over a decade I have been in nearly every pub in the city and club on most nights of the week over the years that I have been socialising. Not once, ever, was I ever offered anything for sale and I’m not a Garda nor do I hang around with them. Drugs might affect people right across the spectrum of society but the fact is that these people it affects, all gather upon the same scene rather than being from completely different scenes. If people want drugs then they will find them, drugs don’t find people. I never wanted to touch anything in my life, don’t even take what the doctor prescribes at times, and I have never been offered anything as such. I’m not alone, there are many others. To say that the drugs problem is sweeping throughout the community is simply not true, people don’t get what they don’t go looking for. Lower class, upper class no matter what background people come from, the instant that they go in search of drugs, makes them all from the same class, they are the same people then.
Oddly enough a few short months after moving to Ireland I saw cocaine for the first time. I didn’t go looking for it, it just came out at a run-of-the-mill party. I was fascinated but repelled too, this was a serious drug that to me had a bad rap.
You are generally right though. You tend to have to go looking for this stuff. But that doesn’t mean going to the dodgier ends of town and hanging out on stret corners. It means going into a bedroom at a party or walking over to the other end of the bar. It is a few steps away from “normal” life.
Absolutely correct Paul, it doesn’t have to be a shady back alley or dodgy party at all. The only context that matters is the mindset of the person – if that’s looking for it then it will find it, if not then it won’t, irrespective of proximity.