‘A MASSIVE CHALLENGE’ Balllina GP, Dr Blaise Brunker.
Illegal drugs can now be delivered to homes in Mayo in the same manner as a takeaway meal. That was the stark message from Ballina GP, Dr Blaise Brunker when he spoke to The Mayo News this week.
Dr Brunker has been working in Ballina for the past 30 years, during which time he has witnessed numerous societal changes. He believes the current drug problem is a massive challenge facing Mayo communities.
“Of course, we’re all immersed in battling Covid-19, but there are other problems becoming more and more apparent, and the use and availability of illegal drugs is one of those.
“The Gardaí are doing a wonderful job and are really fighting back, but I think every GP in the county is aware of the hold illegal drugs have on many people. The amount of drug abuse is frightening. They can be ordered now the same way as you’d order a takeaway dinner, and some people think that’s normal, but it has an awful knock-on effect.
“Depression, mental health difficulties, various physical illnesses and financial pressures are just some of the obvious impacts, never mind the blight it creates in society,” he stressed before outlining some of his recent experiences.
“The growing drug problem has seen the number of referrals to the Adult Mental Health Unit in Castlebar increase. As GPs work alongside the Gardaí we’re very aware of the massive increase in drug-driving during lockdown.
“The guards are doing a wonderful job. They’re taking breath samples at checkpoints and their equipment can pick up eight different classes of drugs, so the amount of drug-driving detections is growing every day,” Dr Brunker added.
The Gardaí are also having great success on the ground in Mayo, with a noticeable increase in drug busts in recent months.
Their success does not surprise the well-known doctor.
“There’s a bunch of assertive young guards in the drug-unit, and thankfully some resources have been sent in their direction. They’re doing the very best they can and are having a lot of success, but they need even more support. Gardaí have been under equipped, under funded and under manned for years, but if they get the proper resources they will produce results. It’s simple really.”