BY CAOIMHINN BARR
A DONEGAL man, who freely admits to taking illegal drugs in the past, is convinced that his campaign against narcotics is having a positive impact here.
The latest crime figures released by the Central Statistics Office in July show that drug offences have been slashed by almost 60 per cent from 68 to 30, however, there are fears this is because of the downgrading of the drugs unit in the county.
And while the drop could be attributed to the decision earlier this year to abolish the local Garda drugs unit, Kristian Shortt believes his rigorous anti-drugs message is hitting home.
“We have now handed out more than 80,000 leaflets against drugs and it’s been proven that in areas where that happens drug crime falls,” he said.
“We have left boxes of anti-drugs leaflets at Garda stations around Donegal and the guards are very positive about the campaign. Any time they attend crimes where they suspect drugs to be involved they hand out more of the leaflets, which is having a big impact,” Kristian added.
The son of former Point Inn night club owner, Frank Shortt, who was wrongly jailed for three years in 1995, Kristian believes he would never have become an addict if he had received proper education on the dangers of drugs some years ago.
“I have no shame in admitting that I had an addiction to drugs. I ended up chopped to pieces by a knife in a pool of blood, terrified that I was going to die – that was all because of drugs and the lifestyle I was leading,” he said.
“Drugs almost killed me so if I can educate people on the dangers then I’m more than happy to do that. When I was taking drugs I never got any education. I always thought that they wouldn’t do me any long-term damage, which is absolutely not the case,” the Redcastle man added.
Rapper Kristian, who has left drugs behind him in favour of a career as a musician, says his life is now better than ever.
“Since I started my anti-drugs campaign I’ve had nothing but good things happen in my life. I believe in good karma and everything in my life has been so positive since I quit drugs. It’s a pleasure for me to spread an anti-drugs message to as many people as possible,” he said.
“I don’t socialise with dealers any more but, from what I hear, drugs are nowhere near as readily available as they were a few years ago. The campaign is making a difference,” Kristian added.