The “extortionate price of drink” is pushing many young people towards cocaine, a Galway county councillor has claimed.
In the first eight weeks of 2023, Gardaí reportedly seized as much cocaine as they did during the entirety of 2022.
Cllr Peter Roche believes demand for the drug is surging and says Government policy is to blame.
“We need to have a conversation about the extortionate cost of pricing of our drinks,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“Particularly since late last year, it’s just outrageous to me that you could put up one unit of alcohol by 55 cent.
“Against that background, I felt drugs are everywhere; in every village in every county right around the country [and] are easily accessible.
“By all accounts... because they [drugs] are so accessible and because alcohol is so expensive, I believe that a lot of young people especially are leaning towards that use… There’s quite a lot of house parties where drugs are the preferred way to get that kick.”
Cllr Roche said some pubs in Galway now charge as much as €6.90 for a pint and many young people cannot afford that.
“Let’s say they [young people] go out as a four,” he said.
“They’d like to be able to get four pints of Guinness, four pints of Heineken - whatever the case may be - for your standard €20 or close to it.
“That won’t happen anymore.”
Cllr Roche is opposed to drug use and feels society needs to debate how young people can be discouraged from using them.
“I want people to continue to behave normally,” he said.
“[I don’t want] people to resort to drugs as a consequence of the extortionate price of drink.”
Britain's NHS describes cocaine as a "highly addictive drug" and says long-term use can cause damage to a person’s heart, mood swings, impotence, mental health problems and infections that, in the most extreme cases, require amputations.
Main image: Cocaine.