A legislation has been drafted up to tackle the use of children in the distribution of drugs trade.
Fianna Fail spokesperson for National Drug Policy and TD for Dublin Mid-West, John Curran has prepared the legislation with the aim of increasing the criminal consequences for those who use children in the preparation and sale of illegal drugs.
According to Deputy Curran the new bill would make it a criminal offence to purchase drugs from a person under the age of 18 or to cause a child to be in the possession of drugs for the intent of sale and supply.
Speaking about the legislation, Deputy Curran said: “At the beginning of the year, Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force published research that many already knew to be the case: children as young as eight were working as drug “runners”, with ten-year olds dealing drugs.”
The same report details that there has been an increase over the past two years in the number of under-18-year-olds dealing drugs.
It also says that some young people see drug dealing as a way of making easy money while boosting their social status. The average age of drug runners is thought to be 13.
Says Curran: “The use of minors in drug distribution networks is appealing because, due to their age, there are fewer criminal consequences if they are caught.
“This bill seeks to change that and in doing so, make it less attractive for those higher up the distribution chain from using young people in this manner.”
The bill has been submitted to the Bills Office and Deputy Curran hopes he will be able to introduce it to the Dáil in the coming weeks.
“I hope that the combined effect of these two new offences will be to protect young people against getting involved in the drug economy,” he said.