Local Councillor Derren Ó Brádaigh has expressed his alarm at the continued misuse of nitrous oxide, more commonly referred to as ‘silver bullets’, within the community and the anti-social behaviour that is frequently associated. Ó Brádaigh, a new councillor for the local electoral area of Lucan-Palmerstown and North Clondalkin is a long time activist with the party and believes there are some parallels between the recent pandemic and this particular substance abuse by some of the youth in our communities.
Cllr Ó Bradaigh said; “The prevalence of these cannisters left strewn around our streets on a regular basis has become an all too common sight. Whilst I understand many have spoken out on this already, including my own colleague Mark Ward TD, the increased misuse of nitrous oxide as an inhalant, appears to have re-emerged to the same widespread scale as we were witnessing at the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic early last year. “Whilst it was welcome news that the HSE had included information about the misuse of nitrous oxide on Drugs.ie, this does not go far enough to tackle the ongoing problem. It would seem to me that the current upsurge once again in the misuse of these ‘silver bullets’ can be timed with the recent lockdown period. I appreciate that this may be coincidental, however I feel that there is strong enough evidence to warrant closer scrutiny.
“Nitrous oxide cannisters are produced for use in the catering industry and can be purchased with relative ease. They are considered a gateway drug and as such can result in a progression to experimenting with more serious drugs and substances. Risks associated with the inhalation of this gas are dangerous and can cause a drop in oxygen levels increasing heart rate. People with heart, blood pressure or mental health concerns may be at even greater risk. “Only recently, I contacted the council highlighting locations of discarded cannisters and requesting the cleansing of certain streets / areas on behalf of residents specifically in this regard. The congregation of groups in the course of misusing this product and the general littering, noise and anti-social behaviour that follows is extremely intimidating for local residents.
“I have written to local Garda representatives for the area expressing my willingness to work as part of a joint effort in addressing some of the more challenging issues within our community. I was very pleased to receive a prompt and positive response. This followed my attendance at the local policing forum that organise from and on behalf of the community. As one attendee at the meeting pointed out, the only notable engagement that our youth are having in recent times is with the Garda – and this is more often than not for the wrong reasons. If we are ever to get a handle on drug and substance abuse and meaningfully address increasing anti-social problems, then we need a collaborative effort and this importantly means listening to our young people too!”