The shocking murder of two Polish men by Drimnagh teenager David Curran shines a light on an aspect of Irish society that we all too often ignore.
That is our tendency to use drink and drugs to get out of our heads and then to leave ourselves open to doing terrible things under their influence.
The consumption of alcohol and drugs in the Drimnagh case was extreme.
Curran started off on that terrible day with vodka and cans. While having them he smoked cannabis and swallowed benzodiazepine tablets. He followed that with alcopops.
Later he robbed two bottles of wine and a screwdriver from a moped.
By the time he was contacted by a girl to tell him about a row outside a chip shop, he had taken about 20 tablets and had smoked seven joints on top of the alcohol.
He had engaged in some of this behaviour with his side-kick Sean Keogh who pleaded guilty to assault causing harm.
In consuming drink and drugs to this level, Curran was putting himself into a state in which he was capable of doing anything.
That's the trouble with our 'get out of your head' culture.
Those who drink and take drugs to get out of their heads don't just harm themselves -- they are capable of doing immense and terrible harm to others.
When we see the Currans of this world, we look the other way. We cross the street to avoid them and who can blame us?
But I am afraid they represent a trend that has been present in Irish society for a very long time.
You could go back over the newspapers for as many decades as you wish and you would find defendants pleading in mitigation that they had so much drink on board they didn't know what they were doing.
Indeed this phenomenon is so common we hardly notice it anymore. But we need to take note of the fact that this behaviour has been going on since before the country began to sink under the weight of illegal and legal drugs.
We have always used alcohol to get us out of our heads and often with tragic consequences.
It's a revelation to observe German, French, Italian or other European drinkers.
They seem to drink for enjoyment and not to get drunk. We, on the other hand, all too often drink to get drunk and the enjoyment seems to be completely secondary.
I doubt if Curran and his companions were particularly enjoying themselves on the day of the murders any more than people who practically drink themselves to death are enjoying themselves.
This doesn't mean that Curran's guilt is in any way mitigated by being 'out of it'. He put himself into this state and must take the consequences for what Mr Justice Liam McKechnie described as brutal, savage and sadistic murders.
The same is true of people who consume so much alcohol that they commit crimes under the influence.
They have chosen to put themselves into a state in which their normal inhibitions have been removed and in which they are capable of doing great harm. That said, though, I believe we as a society have to ask ourselves why so many have developed this behaviour of using drink and drugs to lose the grip on reality.
Why do so many of us carry on like this in a relatively well off society?
When we sensibly cross the road to avoid the likes of Curran and Keogh, we don't just avoid possible attackers.
We also avoid looking ourselves in the face and having to confront a key question: What is the sickness at the heart of our culture that leads so many into this toxic behaviour and -- more importantly -- what can we do about it?
We need to work out answers to those questions. Because of that sickness, two decent Polish men are dead and their families destroyed.
Padraig O'Morain is accredited as a counsellor by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy