SWILL realises that this could have gone in the Heroin forum, but thought it of more general interest, particularly as it contains information on other drugs at the end of the piece.
This from the Irish Examiner:
African gangs flooding Cork with cheap heroin
By Sean O’Riordan
A HOSPITAL consultant warned yesterday of a worrying increase in heroin addiction in Cork in the past two weeks.
West African gangs, it was claimed, are flooding the city with cheap drugs.
Dr Chris Luke, a consultant in emergency medicine at the Mercy and Cork University Hospital, said within the past two weeks he treated 12 people for opiate abuse, such as heroin and methadone.
“This is an extraordinary number for Cork. Up to recently you might see one or two people a month, which was even a dramatic increase on what you’d have seen five years ago.” he said.
He related anecdotal evidence that one man died of heroin abuse at a house party in the city in the past couple of weeks.
He believes there may have been six to eight deaths from heroin in Cork in the past 18 months.
“In the past few months I’ve also seen half a dozen people in heroin comas coming to the Mercy,” said Dr Luke. “Fortunately we were able to save them.”
He said it used to be a joke that Corkonians had a fear of needles. “That came from the fact most people were smoking heroin, which was called ‘Chasing the Dragon’. However, now there are more people using the drug intravenously. And that’s a very worrying trend.”
He pointed out that heroin usage in the city was likely to have serious implications.
“Whereas cocaine users are normally fairly wealthy, heroin users are not. As the drug is profoundly addictive it has the potential to lead to more criminality and the destruction of communities.”
Heroin users, he noted, usually have little or no money and take up robbing and mugging to acquire the cash for their next fix.
“My feeling is west African gangs are targeting Cork with cheap heroin. They are embedding it in the market,” he said.
Dr Luke warned any significant rise in heroin addiction in the city and county would also “pose a huge burden on an already creaking health service”.
“I’ve heard of heroin causing problems even in Bandon and Clonakilty, which was unheard of before,” he said.
Dr Luke made his comments after giving a lecture to 48 councillors on the Health Service Executive South forum about drink and drug misuse.
Despite a public perception, he said ecstasy was still very popular in Cork.
During the course of the lecture, Dr Luke also said the obesity epidemic was being fuelled by alcohol. “We are truly world-class beaters in alcohol consumption. One in five attendances at CUH and Mercy were for drunkenness,” he said.
* Dr Luke told councillors typically 40 street drinkers die each year in Cork from alcohol abuse.
A ban on alcohol advertising should be adopted, he said, adding it needs to be curtailed, especially on TV, which proved impressionable to young people.