NEW legal drugs which recreational users are substituting for cocaine are on sale in two 'alternative lifestyle' shops in Dundalk.
Local party-goers have been snapping up products such as 'Charge', 'Snowblow' and 'White Ice' in the latest craze.
Labelled as "Herbal Tobacco Free Snuff" Snowblow is on sale in both of Dundalk's head shops, 'Cosmic Corner' on Francis Street and 'The Magic Bus' on Bridge Street.
The head shops are retail outlets that specialise in drug paraphernalia. On sale for r15 in 'The Magic Bus' and r10 in Cosmic Corner, sales of Snowblow are said to have rocketed in recent months.
The legal powder substance is described by manufacturers as a "powerful herbal party powder that gives you the up without the down".
The ingredients, according to the packaging, are caffeine, herbal extracts and vitamins including Acoru Calamus, Hydrastis Canadensis, Tilia Europea, Paulina Capana, L-taurine and Menthol.
However, it is known they contain drugs called flephedrone mephedrone, street name mcat, or methylone. Mephedrone grew in popularity following the ban of another drug, BZP, in March 2009.
The Snowblow packaging warns users who have existing medical conditions to check with their doctor before using the substance.
The legal powder substances Charge and White Ice have also become increasingly popular with recreational users chasing legal highs.
Described as "novelty bath salts only not for human consumption" two quantities of Charge are on sale in 'Cosmic Corner' for €25 and €40.
According to the packaging, Charge can only be bought by people aged 18 or older. It is manufactured in the EU under licence for Total Trading Ltd, Belize.
The ingredients on the back of the packet are listed as Vitamin C, Magnesium, Creatine, Amino Acids Blend, Caffeine, Herbal Blends, Hoodia and Minerals.
However, it is thought that products such as Snowblow, Charge and White Ice are synthesised in laboratories to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.
Pharmacology and medical experts are warning members of the public about the side-effects of the substances which can include nose bleeds, nose burns, hallucinations, blood circulation problems, rashes, anxiety, paranoia, fits and delusions.
The Magic Bus which sells party pills, grow kits, pipes and bongs set up a Bebo.com page in February 2007 and currently has 124 fans.
One member from Dundalk posted the comment "get it in2 ya wup", while another member wrote "I love drugs!!!!Hoo ha!!! I do, I do, I do!!!"
By Tamara O'Connell
January 27, 2010