Wednesday 25 April 2018

'They're being sold like sweets' - gardaí arrest more people in Dublin for offences related to 'Benzos'

Frustration: Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan. Photo: Tom Burke
Frustration: Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan. Photo: Tom Burke

Robin Schiller

Gardaí have arrested twice as many people in Dublin for offences related to 'Benzos' than the rest of the country, new figures show.

The psychoactive drugs, which also includes a number of 'Z' tablets, have caused serious issues in Dublin's north-inner city where according to local TD Maureen O'Sullivan they are being sold like "sweets" .

Since May of last year, there have been 189 incidents linked to Benzodiazepines recorded in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) with proceedings launched in 133 of these cases.

This compares to the 83 'benzos' related arrests and offences outside of the capital, with 51 cases commenced in these incidents.

The figures, released in response to a parliamentary question to Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan, show there are twice as many arrests for possession of benzos in Dublin than the rest of the country.

However, Ms O'Sullivan expressed her frustration that no proceedings were taken in 66 cases where people were detained for being in possession of tablets in the capital.

"Things are still a bit slow, we had hoped that there would have been hefty fines coming from it, because there needs to be stronger deterrents against the selling of tablets. The community in the north-inner city are being driven demented by it," Ms O'Sullivan said.

"The guards are doing their best but in a large number of cases proceedings haven't commenced yet."

Ms O'Sullivan said people were travelling to the capital to purchase Benzo tablets, which are being sold in parts of the city centre "like sweets".

New regulations were introduced last May, in which restrictions were placed on the possession of controlled drugs such as Alprazolam.

It made it an offence to be in possession of Benzodiazepines- including "Z Drugs" Zopiclone and Zolpidem without a valid prescription.

Gardaí attached to the Dublin North central divisional drug unit have been targeting a number of prolific dealers in the inner city as part of a crackdown. Last December, around 30,000 Xanax tablets worth a street value of €60,000 were seized at Dublin Port.

Irish Independent

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