Elaine Byrne: Drugs are everywhere in society so we must decide if they are a criminal or a health problem

People from all walks of life in Ireland use recreational narcotics and the state spends a disproportionate amount of resources dealing with the issue in the courts

The consumption of drugs has become so normalised for a cohort of the population that it has become indistinguishable from alcohol Picture: Getty

One in 20 farmers uses drugs, according to a recent study by DCU academics which was published in the Journal of Rural Health.

Addiction counsellor Ciarán Carey told the RTÉ Claire Byrne radio show on Tuesday that the figure is probably higher. “The last six or seven months is gone through the roof between the ages of 21 up to about 23, across the board, but definitely in the farming community,” the former Limerick hurling ...