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  1. Guttz
    COCAINE use has risen in recent weeks due to a chronic shortage of heroin, drug treatment services have said.

    This is thought to be the first increase in cocaine usage in recent times, after a fall-off in consumption levels in the last two to three years.

    The trend is being reported by several agencies in Dublin and HSE addiction experts in greater Dublin.

    Other agencies, and the HSE addiction service in Cork, are seeing a rise in tranquillisers and anti-anxiety tablets among heroin users.

    Some agencies also report drugs formerly sold in head shops being used.

    The groups are concerned at the risk of overdoses among heroin addicts once supplies are resumed, as their tolerance levels have fallen.

    "In the last four weeks, there has been a lack of heroin and it’s being referred to as a drought," said Tony Duffin of the Anna Liffey drop-in centre in Dublin.

    "As a result people are taking alternatives. Experience is telling us there has been an increase in cocaine use, people are also smoking crack. There is also a rise in former head shops drugs. There is also an increase in benzos (benzodiazepines, a minor tranquilliser) and tablets."

    Graham Ryall of the Rialto Community Drug Team, in the south inner city, said they had seen an increase in the number of urine tests positive for cocaine.

    He said for the first time since they were set up in 1996 none of their methadone clients tested positive for heroin last week.

    He said the price of heroin had jumped from €20 a bag to €50 a bag and that the price of street methadone had also jumped.

    Tony Geoghegan of Merchants Quay Ireland said they had not seen any sharp rise in cocaine usage among clients, but have seen a jump in other substances.

    David Lane of HSE drug and alcohol services in Cork said they were seeing "more benzos" among heroin users, rather than cocaine.

    He said they were preparing a response for the resumption of heroin and the risk of overdoses among clients, whose tolerance levels would have fallen.

    This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    By Cormac O’Keeffe
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010



  1. MrG
    I find it a little odd that a drug treatment agency would equate a spike in cocaine usage to a shortage in heroin supply. The two drugs are almost polar opposites in terms of subjective effects. The benzodiazepine usage increase I can understand, but not a CNS stimulant.
  2. Joe Duffy
    The article appears to be a mishmash of more than one story, badly thrown together by the clueless journalist, hence the lack of logic.
  3. kailey_elise
    Often, methadone patients (who are on a high enough dosage to have other opioids effectively blocked) indulge in cocaine, since it will still give them a rush/get them high. That was my first thought, as from what I hear many people who already had a methadone script have gone up on their dose during this drought. Also, lots of addicts just need to be "fucked up" in some way in order to deal with life (or not deal with it ;)), so if there's no heroin, cocaine could make an effective substitute. *shrug*
    Holy shit, not ONE methadone client had a positive screen for heroin? That's *REALLY* bad! And that the price of a bag of "heroin" has more than doubled...but there's still no actual heroin in it? That's fucking awful! Those poor addicts...*sigh* Such a painfully dangerous situation over there right now!

    I, too, wonder how many people are going to die when the heroin levels start to go back up. :(

  4. MrG
    Ah, now it makes sense. I always assumed that heroin addicts would avoid stimulant drugs if they were enduring a forced withdrawal during a dry spell. Then, as you say, there are those who'll abuse any drug just to avoid having to deal with life sober.
  5. mickey_bee
    In the UK, and swim would suppose Ireland also, heroin and crack are synonymous really. In fact, in most major cities you'll rarely find a dealer who doesn't permanently sell both.

    Swim personally knows alot of heroin addicts, who, due to the drought, have just upped their intake of methadone and benzos, and spending their 'heroin money' purely on crack.
    As, in a weird twist, there's loads of very good quality crack floating around at the moment swim hears.

    There are some users however, who previously would use both heroin and crack, but now, due to the lack of heroin for the comdown, have completely abstained from crack. These don't seem to be the majority in swim's area though.
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