A small number of drug addicts in Athy are being forced to hand over social welfare payments to their dealers to feed their heroin habit, the Leader understands.
According to sources in the health services area, this has been happening for a number of months now.
On payment day, usually a Wednesday, a small number of addicts are handed their dole card by their dealer and told to collect their money. Once the money is collected from the Post Office on Dukes Street, the money and the dole card is handed back to the heroin dealer.
Sgt Jim Bergin of Athy Garda Station said he is “not surprised one bit”.
“I personally have never heard of this activity or this kind of activity in Athy but that is not to say that it doesn’t happen. There is no investigation like this going on at the moment.
“We are aware there are people using heroin in the town, to what extent we are not able to quantify but we are carrying out investigations with our house drug searches and intelligence operations to try and contain it,” he added.
The Leader also understands a report by the South West Regional Drugs Taskforce, which examined drugs-related issues in the entire county, has noted there appears to be high heroin rate in the south Kildare town and a high rate of alcohol abuse amoung young people.
The report is due to be published in the coming weeks.