Junk Nation looks at the dugs crisis in Ireland from the 1970s to the present day. It tracks the rise of organised crime, the involvement of paramilitaries, the devastating social effects on poor communities, the response of the state in the form of the Gardai, the health system and the politicians. Junk Nation starts with an actual drugs run. The principal sources of heroin for the Irish market are Afghanistan, Colombia and Turkey. The upheavals in the Balkans in the 1990s brought huge changes in the supply routes to Western Europe. It then traces the methods of entry into Ireland, the distribution systems, who profits and who gets caught. Usually, these last two categories are mutually exclusive. The little guys - the mules - get caught: the godfathers live high on the hog. As well as tracing the story over thirty years, Junk Nation focuses on the deteriorating situation in recent years. It is a story with no neat ending. Following the Veronica Guerin murder, the heat came on the gangs. The result was the Gilligan conviction. Now the gangs have re-formed, armed to the teeth and more ruthless than ever. What are the answers?
No one seems to have one, although the authors look at other EU countries - Sweden and the Netherlands in particular - to monitor their response.