Elaine Byrne: The only difference between a drugs victim and a ‘junkie’ is their address

For as long as we empathise only with middle-class addicts, we will fail to tackle crises like the ‘tsunami’ of crack cocaine in the less leafy green suburbs

5th December, 2021
Elaine Byrne: The only difference between a drugs victim and a ‘junkie’ is their address
‘The deaths of Mary’s grandchildren were not newsworthy. Their stories and those of thousands like them are not told outside the intimate confines of a funeral eulogy’

I have never seen Mary angry. She is in her 70s and enjoying retirement with her grandchildren – those who are still alive.

Mary, whose named has been changed for this article, is the perfect portrait of a typical Irish mammy. She is a force to be reckoned with, always has the last word and is fiercely protective and proud of her children. Strong, caring and doting are words that immediately come to mind when...

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