This from today's Irish Independent:
Children who take drugs
THE cases come to our attention in newspaper reports of court cases or individual tragedies.
Gardai raid a cocaine mixing factory in Clondalkin and discover two 15-year-old boys in charge. A teenager, high on ecstasy tablets, gouges his own eye out at a party. An inner city drug dealer is jailed for 12 years and the court is told he used vulnerable teenagers as pawns.
Parents take out barring orders against their drug addict children in order to avoid eviction.
A 17-year-old Dublin girl, a drug addict, is charged with loitering in a public place with intent to solicit for prostitution. A 16-year-old homeless boy, an addict since he was 13, begs to be taken in to St Patrick's Institution for Christmas.
A 16-year-old boy, whose heroin addiction caused him to attack his father and wreck his family home, is arrested. An 18-year-old who escaped from a drug treatment centre in Portarlington is jailed for five years for various crimes.
Individually, the cases evoke shock and dismay, sometimes pity.
Collectively they add up to a growing scourge that, if it remains uncurbed, has the potential to destroy whole generations.
A few years ago, a study by the Garda Research Unit in Templemore found that one in four Irish teenagers had experimented with drugs.
Before that, a Southern Health Board investigation had put the ratio at one in five.
We report today that a sweeping survey on the welfare of Irish children reveals that two out of every five children in this country have taken drugs.
Further, the massive report from the Office of the Minister for Children tells us that the percentage of girls who have used an illicit drug at some time has increased dramatically in recent years. And, in a survey of 36 countries, Irish children have the third highest levels of illicit drug use.
Tomorrow's report will cover 50 different aspects of our children's lives and the news is not all bad.
For example, Irish youngsters love their sports and this is reflected in superior physical fitness compared to other countries.
However, even given the difficulty of compiling statistical data in a difficult area such as drug-taking by children, the trend is clear, relentless and genuinely frightening.Young women as targets.