What’s the big problem with the truth and the reality of whats going on in our society and on our streets. For those who have to face this on a daily basis and deal with it on a daily basis there is an enormous down side and it can have a catastrophic impact on their own health, well being and safety. Go ask the families of those that are on our streets in active addiction how they feel about whats going on. This is about feeling and drugs block feelings. But not everybody out there who is going about their daily business in and around this activity can sedate themselves or protect themselves from what’s going on around them. This is not a vote exercise its a reality exercise. I’ve got my own family members and friends and constituents out there on them streets at this activity. This is not something that I’ve just stumbled across – i’ve been engaged in this all my life and I’m actively engaged in assisting individuals towards rehabilitation and counselling.
The Daily Mirror spoke with me for over one hour, there were many issues discussed as with any journalist they edit it down to suit the piece. What I said in my remarks is no different than what would be said in any rehabilitation institute.
Its reality. Go into any NA room or AA room and try get away with mamby pamby nonsense. The issue here is that we’re getting overwhelmed by those in addiction. Its important to note that a lot of this behaviour is not tolerated in the flats anymore, not tolerated in their primary homes any more – so why should we tolerate it on our streets. It we can’t call a spade a spade and tell the truth as we see it then we’re in deeper trouble than those in the throws of addiction.
As for safe clinics to shoot up, thats a matter for the HSE and I’ve brought it up on many occasions now. Let me say here though, that you’re always going to be dealing with street issues, no matter what you provide because what you really need to provide is residential rehabilitation centres where people can go when they are ready to deal with the issue. You can also create Streetstep where people are positively engaged in the value of 12 Step program and are encouraged to come 12 Step meetings (NA and AA).
This is all about responsibility and the responsibility for addiction is something that the addict has to step up to. There is a good old saying ‘I like you but I don’t like your addictive behaviour’.
On a personal level, I was stuck in that kind of a hell for 20 odd years of my life, I can only speak for my own experience which is no different than any of those people on the streets or in our pubs or in luxury hotel rooms who are in active addiction of alcoholism, gambling or opiates. But I ain’t no sham-carer or reactionary. I deeply care about people, human beings who are caught up in the trauma of critical addiction and I do my best to carry the message of hope and recovery where ever I go and the most effective way to deliver that is direct.
There are 10s of millions of euros every year being spent on this issue. When you boil it down, this particular heroin issue is about the socially less well-off, those that are regarded as disadvantaged. The unfortunates. For over 30 odd years the State and Agents of the State and the so called ‘community activists’ have failed entirely to deal with this issue. The people on our streets, the homeless, the addicted, are not getting any of the so called benefit, they are merely regarded as the raw material for massive revenue streams into all these so called entities and service providers. We’re not talking about hundreds of thousands of people here, we’re talking about a few hundred that have created a culture as seen in O Connell Street over the past twenty odd years. This Culture has now formed into like a social community, widely regarded as a kind of murky underworld when in actual fact its not. Although its breaking the law, what goes on on O Connell Street and on our streets is a social thing, albeit, a dangerous and detrimental one.
I’m totally committed to finding new ways to change this dynamic. Part of that change is bare faced directness, brutal honesty and absolute reality. You can no longer pedal a grandiose statement around this that nobody is doing anything. If that were the case, there’d be nobody in NA or AA and it would be hopeless.
Its down to the individuals and any individual that I’ve ever come across, caught in addiction, has a massive willingness to change but is confronted by a massive desire to use. Somewhere in between this we have to find better methods to intervene in whatever setting we find active addiction and destruction.
For those who commented on my comments in the Daily Mirror, they seem to be under some illusion that I’m coming from some other place and they’re surprised. I don’t get this. I don’t get this at all and I find it peculiar, amateurish and care-taking that they would assume that I’m on their side or support their views whatever they may be.
I’m not in the business of pseudo-outreach. I don’t live my life like that and I don’t interact like that. The situation on our streets can be changed for the better. The diabolical consequences of active addiction in people’s lives wherever they are and whatever their circumstances can also be constitutionally changed. There is a proven method for all of those who wish to avail of it. Everybody comes to it slowly. Everybody is in their own journey.
However, its equally important to give full support for those people who also suffer great trauma as a result of other people’s addictions – like family members, relations, friends, wives, husbands, workers and the general public who are confronted with it on an ever increasing daily basis in our City.
Walk into any Al Anon room or read any Al Anon literature and you’ll get my point. The more equipped, informed and educated we are around the dynamics of active addiction, the more of service we can be to those who are suffering in their active addiction. These were my points that I tried to raise and I will continue to raise and not step back from. This is not an intolerant position but a realistic approach to a merciless patient and thorough destructive disease called addiction.
I would always hope that for those in active addiction that they would be educated into taking responsibility for their addiction. What’s taking place in our streets at the moment is a reckless disregard for everybody’s health and safety. And that, as it was unacceptable in the social housing complexes, unacceptable in any of our homes, should be equally unacceptable on our streets. This is not an authoritarian approach but a humanitarian one. So when you’re down there and you see all this happening, those engaged with the business of addiction can sedate themselves from their own trauma, those who are going about their daily business, their daily work in the shops and offices throughout the city, cannot.
In conclusion, this is but one side of one scenario taking place in Dublin city. There are over 10,000 registered users of heroin in our city. Many of them take responsibility and manage this condition in a responsible way. There are those also that are on the various programs of recovery and there are the ever increasing numbers that are attending counseling and also attending various meetings around the issues of compulsion and addiction. There are also the many that we don’t see. The addiction to the internet, gambling, food etc. Ever increasing numbers of individuals get to break out from their addictions and get to live incredible lives. That’s what we’re all striving for here. The spine of that possibility is the truth and the honest truth no matter how uncomfortable.