Sex demanded for drugs as over 100 crack houses identified in Tallaght area
3 hrs ago
There are more than 100 ‘crack houses’ in the south Dublin suburb of Tallaght alone, as addiction services struggle to cope with problems linked to the emerging prevalence of the highly addictive drug.
Larry O’Neill, CEO of South Dublin County Partnership, said that the crack epidemic can no longer be ignored and the State must urgently invest in addiction services nationwide.
“Crack cocaine is a particular problem in Tallaght. There are at least 100 crack houses here. But it’s a problem nationwide. I’m aware of four crack houses in one small rural village,” he said. A crack house, or crack den, is a house where dealers and users buy, sell and use the drug.
The Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF) has commissioned a review into the changing landscape of substance misuse, with a focus on the impact of crack on local communities.
Grace Hill, TDATF co-ordinator, said that 31 crack houses have been identified in the Jobstown area of Tallaght alone. Ms Hill said a particular concern is that children live in some of the crack houses.
Since January, 300 people have presented to Jobstown Assisting Drug Dependency (JADD), looking for help with crack cocaine addiction.
The service now provides sterile crack pipes as well as a needle exchange programme for heroin addicts. Ms Hill said 68pc of clients on JADD’s methadone programme are also using crack.
“Crack cocaine is changing the face of drug culture here and we need resources to address it,” she added.
The highly addictive nature of crack means addicts rapidly build up large debts, leading to their families being threatened with violence if they don’t pay the addict’s debt.
In addition, crack cocaine addicts in Tallaght are being targeted by drug dealers offering free samples, while women who cannot pay their drug debts are being forced to provide sexual services, Mr O’Neill continued.
He described how vulnerable addicts were being targeted by “unscrupulous” dealers. The problem has been spilling into nearby areas, with a rise in criminality driven by people seeking to resolve debts.
“There is a huge crack cocaine issue in Killinarden and Jobstown in particular, and it’s gotten worse since the pandemic,” said Mr O’Neill.
“The descriptions of what is happening there, particularly to young women, haunts me. People are leaving local drug rehab courses — but there are dealers waiting outside.
“They are pushing free samples at them when they come out — literally slipping it into their handbags in some cases, or else putting the drugs through their letterboxes free of charge.”
Mr O’Neill said dealers then target women who have been lured by the free samples, forcing them to have sex in order to pay off drug debts.
“The dealers arrive at their doorsteps. ‘Can’t pay? Right, you are going to have sex with such-and-such then instead’ — and a man is brought to their doorstep.
“These scenes are happening. This is real life in parts of Dublin. Vulnerable women who are trying to get off drugs are being targeted in particular.
“How low does the level of deprivation need to go before society reacts?”