Merchant Quay Ireland’s 2009 review points out in stark

terms the drug problems Portlaoise; among other Midlands

towns,  faces: “The problem of drug use has spread out from Dublin

to the Midlands in recent years. There is now a

significant and growing problem with heroin, cocaine,

headshop drugs and other substances in towns such

as Athlone, Portlaoise, Birr and Longford. With

support and funding from the Midlands Regional
Drugs Task Force Merchants Quay Ireland is now
providing much needed services in the four Midlands
counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath.
The MQI Family Support and Community Harm
Reduction Team was established late in 2008 and
provides dedicated outreach services for individuals
actively using drugs and Family Support Services
focussed on the needs of the families of active drug users”

The fear; for those affected by this surge in drug usage, is

that funding for vital support services will be cut back

due to the recession.

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