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Garda Drugs Plea to Students Ahead of Freshers’ Week Tuesday - 21st September 2021

Issue Date: 21/09/2021


  • In 2020, 674 people under the age of 18 entered drug treatment, the majority for cannabis as their main problem drug
  • In 2020, 1,874 people between the age of 18 – 24 entered drug treatment, with over 61% using more than one drug
  • In 2017, 53 people below the age of 24 died from a drug-related illness.

As part of their ‘Campus Watch’ programme Gardaí are launching their #Riseabovetheinfluence drug awareness campaign as students return to college. The campaign aims to encourage students to seek out positive influences and avoid the harmful consequences of drugs misuse.

Detective Superintendent Sé McCormack of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau said "Freshers’ Week should be a time for celebration, the beginning of something good in your life.  Don’t let drug use end your career before it starts.   

If you use drugs such as Cannabis, Cocaine, Ketamine and MDMA, you are committing a criminal offence and also risking addiction, loss of career opportunities, under-achievement, and international travel restrictions. Taking other substances like cannabis edibles:  jellies, sweets, drinks, vapes, or synthetic cannabinoids or nitrous oxide balloons also carries health and prosecution risks. 

Taking un-prescribed ‘study’ drugs or sleeping pills can lead to anxiety, addiction and psychosis. Multiple or Poly-drug use is extremely dangerous and increases your risk of overdose or death.

While we strive to keep people safe, we believe that you can also help keep yourself safe. Contact the emergency services if you become ill after consuming a drug or are in the presence of somebody who may be ill.

Our "Rise above the influence” message is simple. Your future is in your hands. Seek out positive influences on Campus. Choose the influences which will enhance your future career. Make responsible decisions for yourself and be aware of those around you. Don’t become another victim of the drug trade. 

Drug use can lead to addiction, debt, prison and the destruction of your physical and mental health. You don’t know what you’re taking.  You don’t know where it will take you.”