A leading consultant in emergency medicine has said that Ireland is only a quarter of the way through its cocaine epidemic.
Dr Chris Luke also says that he expects 500 people to die from using the drug over the next decade and that cocaine presents the greatest risk to civil society.
The link between the death of RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan and his use of cocaine has brought the dangers of the drug once again to public attention.
In the wake of the broadcaster's inquest, experts are repeating their warning about the dangers of cocaine.
Between 2003 and 2009 the number of people who admitted to using cocaine almost doubled to 5% of the population.
There is no official data to show if the onset of the recession has had an impact on the levels of cocaine use here, but some believe it has contributed to a fall in users.
The habit of using cocaine with alcohol results in more complications.
Medical professionals say the damage that cocaine causes is not always visible to users and that many do not realise its potentially fatal consequences.
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