Middle class people “don’t want to accept” how extensive drug use is within their social circle, the CEO of an addiction charity has said.
Eddie Mullins of Merchant Quays in Dublin said many of the people he works with are “very much in poverty” but other users are affluent professionals.
It is these people, he said, who keep the illegal drugs in business.
“The people I work with who are chronically addicted are not sustaining the drugs industry,” he told Lunchtime Live.
“They don’t have the means or the capability to do so.
“It’s such a valuable trade.”
Mr Mullins said, much like alcohol, most people who take drugs use it only occasionally or socially at the weekends.
They never get in trouble with the Gardaí and do not tell their loved ones they are drug users.
“A lot of people, especially middle-class people, don’t want to accept that because it may mean that family members, friends of theirs are actually engaging in taking drugs,” Mr Mullins said.
“But that is the reality, there’s no question about it.”
Even those who have developed a dependency do not think of themselves as addicts because they do not fit society’s stereotype of a drug addict.
“Middle class people who take drugs do not see themselves in the same category as a chronically addicted person who presents in a particular fashion on the streets across our cities and towns,” Mr Mullins said.
“But the difficulty is, in the first instance, everybody starts somewhere; so, the people we work with at Merchant’s Quay who are chronically addicted may have started off with an occasional drug use.
“Then it took over their lives and brought everything to a shuddering standstill.”
Anyone who thinks they might have a problem with drugs or alcohol can call the HSE on 1800 459 459 from Monday to Friday between 9:30 am and 5:30pm for confidential advice.
Main image: Close up of someone buying drugs. Picture by: Alamy.com