DRUG-driving detections in the West Cork garda division are up 200% for the first four months of this year.
And now more people are driving under the influence of drugs in West Cork than anywhere else in the county, new garda figures have revealed.
Chief Supt Con Cadogan of the Cork West Division said that 24 people were arrested for the offence between January and May.
The marked increase, compared to the same period last year, can be attributed to the fact that more gardaí are being trained in the use of specialist equipment which can detect cannabis, heroin, cocaine and benzodiazepines.
These figures were outlined at a meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) in County Hall which shows that the numbers arrested for drug-driving across the three garda divisions – Cork West, Cork North and Cork City – is double what it was for the same period last year.
Chief Supt Tom Myers said that for the first four months of this year, 54 people were arrested in Co Cork for drug driving, compared to 21 for the same period last year, with the largest increase in West Cork.
Supt Cadogan told The Southern Star: ‘Last week, for example, there was the Kinsale 7s and there were a number of detections there and there were also a number of festivals like the West Cork Rally in Clonakilty which also had detections.’
‘Simple drugs possession is up 34% since the first of January, while possession for sale or supply is up 5% since the start of the year.’
In outlining the crime statistics, Chief Supt Myers said that the increase in those detected drug driving is primarily due to the fact that more gardaí are being trained in the use of the drug-driving equipment.
‘The equipment that we use – the Drager 5000 – is capable of testing for cannabis, heroin, cocaine and benzodiazepines, so the hit rate for the amount of people that are detected for drug-driving is far higher than it is for drink-driving,’ said Chief Supt Myers.
He added that he would anticipate that the percentage increase will be higher down the line as more gardaí receive training in the use of the Drager 5000 and the fact that more machines will become available.
There was a marked decrease in the numbers detected for drink driving, with 233 for the first four months of this year, compared to 248 for the same period last year.