Co Kildare teenagers are now taking alcohol and drugs younger than ever before with dangerous ‘synthetic’ weed now on the local market.
This warning comes as Junior Certificate celebrations swing into action.
Stephen Joyce, Development Worker for the South West Regional Drugs & Alcohol Task Force, is deeply concerned that 14-year-old teenagers throughout the county are now developing issues with drugs and alcohol.
He said: “They are generally getting this synthetic cannabinoids locally in Co Kildare. These drugs are 20 times stronger than people now in their 30s and 40s would have taken. I am no-longer surprised to see drugs and alcohol issues in Co Kildare among 14 year olds.”
Mr Joyce is working with the Drugs & Alcohol Task Force for the past decade, the problem is bigger than ever, he says.
Due to stronger synthetic weed on the market, there are now rising levels of young people suffering from mental health issues, according to Mr Joyce.
He said: “At school it will have an impact on motivation, they will have mood swings.”
On a smaller scale, but also emerging as an issue for Co Kildare teenagers
is the use of prescription drugs such as Valium.
Additionally, according to Mr Joyce, the use of MDMA ( ecstasy) is increasing among Co Kildare teenagers.
He said: “You never know what is in this pill, the users are playing Russian Roulette.”
Meanwhile, North Kildare Juvenile Liason Officer, Garda Audrey Sheridan, is seeing a significant amount of teenagers being hospitalised or committing crimes due to alcohol and cannabis use.
She said: “I meet children who are being hospitalised throughout the year, due to alcohol, it is not just around Junior Cert time. They are involved in serious assaults. No-one goes out with the intention of getting into trouble. There is a lot of cannabis use.”
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