Cocaine imported into Ireland cut with animal de-wormer
Cocaine imported into Ireland is being routinely cut with drugs used on animals to kill parasitic worms.
An analysis of seized drug shipments by Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) showed that large cocaine seizures typically had a purity of 40pc.
This is consistent with shipments seized in other European countries.
Among the compounds found present in cocaine were levamisole, a drug used by vets to treat parasitic worms and which is said to have skin destroying properties when ingested by humans.
Also found in cocaine were benzocaine and lignocaine, local anaesthetics used by dentists, and phenacetin, which is a painkiller banned in a number of countries. Phenacetin is associated with an increased risk of urologic or renal diseases.
FSI found that bulk heroin imported into Ireland was about 33pc pure. They found heroin contained different combinations of phenacetin, paracetamol and caffeine, amongst other substances.
The main drugs encountered by FSI in 2016 were cannabis, cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines and ecstasy.