A community worker has expressed his fears that an increasing number of young people are experimenting with cannabis.
Darren O’Reilly, youth co-ordinator at the Rosemount Resource Centre says he worried children as young as 13 are developing an addiction to cannabis and other drugs
He contacted the ‘Journal’ after a group of young people leaving the centre’s after school club on Monday found a number of bongs at the back of Osborne Street.
Mr O’Reilly said that Monday’s find was the latest in an “increasing number” of discoveries of drug related paraphenalia in the area over the last number of weeks.
“This is an ongoing and increasing problem,” Mr O’Reilly said. “I would say we easily have 14 or 15 of these type of devices which have been found over the last few weeks alone and handed into the centre.”
In this instance a group of children, some as young as eight, found the devices.
“The Rosemount Resource Centre has been working with young people in the area to tackle the issue of underage drinking, drug use and anti-social behaviour and we have been making great progress in this.
“Generally speaking, such behaviour has decreased and we have been working on diversionary measures with young people - arranging activities at the weekend so that this becomes their habit - but it appears to us that young people from the schools are coming down at lunch times or at night and experimenting.”
Mr O’Reilly said the difficulty that youth workers were experiencing were that these devices were of the crude, home-made variety.
“It is hard to keep an eye on something which is made up of ordinary household products.
“What we would ask parents to do is be more vigilant of what their children are doing - what products are around the house and if their children are asking for a pair of scissors or whatever - then just be aware that they might be up to something.”
Mr O’Reilly said children as young as 13 were known to be developing addictions to cannabis.
“The worrying thing is that this would very much be considered a gateway drug to something more serious - young people are moving on to mephedrone or other drugs so we want to make sure to tackle this problem as quickly as we can before more lives are torn apart.”
Rosemount Resource Centre is holding a Health and Wellbeing day on Monday which will address issues such as the misuse of prescription medication. “Support services are available,” said Mr O’Reilly, adding that those looking for advice could call 71282829.