42 potential drug deals spotted in four-hour afternoon period for undercover RTÉ documentary 1 month ago

42 potential drug deals spotted in four-hour afternoon period for undercover RTÉ documentary

Figures show that crack cocaine is a growing problem in Ireland.

Undercover cameras for an RTÉ documentary filmed over 42 potential drug deals in just a four-hour afternoon period at a Ballymun location.

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On Tuesday night's Prime Time, RTÉ Investigates will broadcast undercover filming of the steep rise in open drug dealing in Ballymun in Dublin, where crack cocaine use is on the increase.

New figures show that cocaine in powder form, and the more potent crack cocaine in rock form, are a growing problem across Ireland.

Research Officer for the Health Research Board, Dr Anne Marie Carew, told RTÉ Investigates that between 2014 and 2020, there has been a 400% increase in the numbers seeking treatment for crack cocaine addiction.

80% of those seeking help who use crack live in Dublin, while Ballymun is the community with the highest level of people with opiate addiction in the country, making it ripe ground for the destructive drug.

As part of its investigations, RTÉ monitored several locations where drugs are openly sold on the streets, including one close to a senior citizen housing complex in Ballymun.

To see how big a problem drug dealing was at the location, RTÉ Investigates secretly filmed there over five days last month.

On the first day alone, undercover cameras filmed over 42 potential drug deals in just a four-hour afternoon period.

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Prime Time's programme tonight also shows young children regularly passing by as open drug dealing happens.

In the 15 minutes it took for children to pass by the location, as they made their way home from primary school, RTÉ Investigates says it recorded at least nine potential drug deals taking place in front of some of those children.

Footage also shows a young toddler standing beside a woman who is asking a dealer for heroin.

The broadcaster has said tonight's programme will ask why dealers are being allowed to sell drugs openly in broad daylight in multiple locations across Ballymun and examine how social deprivation and poverty is proven to increase the risk of drug addiction for young people.

In a statement to RTÉ Investigates, An Garda Síochana said there are currently 31 members of the Gardaí assigned to the Divisional Drugs Unit in the North Dublin Area but that Gardaí do not have any blanket or general powers of stop and search.

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RTÉ Investigates - Crack and the Community airs tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player.