A potentially fatal psycho-active drug called "snow blow" is sweeping through the streets of north Dublin.
The banned head shop drug mephedrone is being sold under the new nickname for three times its original price.
And date rape drugs Rohypnol and Zimovane are taking over from the likes of heroin and cocaine among junkies, it is claimed. Dealers are handing out free samples to get a new breed of addicts hooked.
Mephedrone-based drugs, which had been selling for between €15 and €20 when they were legal, now cost as much as €60.
A number of teenagers in Britain died from taking mephedrone this year while some young Irish people were lucky not to suffer a similar fate.
A 17-year-old girl from Bray barely survived a 35-minute seizure she suffered after taking a substance from a head shop.
Mephedrone is described by the European Commission as having "acute and chronic toxicity" which makes it a perfect substitute for recreational drugs such as cocaine.
Zimovane and Rohypnol, which are anti-insomnia medications, are flooding the streets and are known as zimos.
They are being brought in from countries like Egypt and Spain and are widely available there because of less-strict rules on prescription drugs.
Mel MacGiobun, coordinator of the North Dublin Inner City Drugs Task Force, confirmed to the Herald that party powders and pills were still readily available on the streets of the capital.
"We are familiar with incidents of these psychoactive substances called 'snow blow' and other powder substances being sold on the streets of Dublin's north inner-city," he said.
"They were widely available earlier this year and there was a huge concentration of them available before the crackdown on head shops.
"These powders contain the deadly substance mephedrone, which acts as a cocaine substitute. These substances were outlawed in May by the Minister for Health.
"We've heard reports that as a result these drugs are being sold underground. It doesn't seem to be as easy to source but the price has trebled.
"They were retailing for €15 to €20 but that has become between €50 and €60 since the ban was imposed.
"They're selling as 'snow blow' and powders under the heading 'snow', they are highly addictive and potentially dangerous.
"These party pills and powder can be reported to gardai and we will be calling on people to use our free-phone number if they have information on these drugs."
Anyone who sees these substance being dealt on the streets is asked to report them confidentially to the Dial-to-Stop-Drug-Dealing campaign.
By Cormac Byrne
Thursday October 21 2010