Thursday 21 September 2017

'Snow' left at doors to entice a new breed of addicts

ALISON O'RIORDAN

Free samples of a dangerous ecstasy-like drug known as "snow blow" are being left at people's front doors as banned head shops go underground due to a crackdown on their business.

The illegal high (real name mephedrone) is being sold in Dublin for three times its original price.

Street-level dealers are strategically placing free samples of this psychoactive drug at front doors of private apartments and doorsteps belonging to houses of young professionals to entice a new type of addict fanbase.

Proven to cause acute health problems and lead to dependency, "snow blow" now has the same illegal status as cocaine, hash and heroine.

Mel MacGiobun, co-ordinator of the North Dublin Inner City Drugs Task Force, has warned that if "a suspicious psychoactive substance like this" is left at your door, it should be reported to the gardai.

He said: "It is a very worrying trend that inner city residents in private apartment complexes are being targeted with suspicious samples of so called 'snow', left outside the doors of their homes. There is no way of knowing what a small mound of white powder left on a piece of paper might be, it could be anything -- arsenic, mephedrone or some other synthetic drug."

These synthetic drugs are completely illegal since May when Health Minister Mary Harney outlawed 200 of these substances.

Named substances like mephedrone are banned through the Misuse of Drugs Act, and the European Commission is now seeking to ban mephedrone, which is described as having "acute and chronic toxicity", right across the EU.

"At the height of it there were 14 head shops in the north inner city and the majority of these are now closed. We have heard reports that drug dealers have now gone into this kind of illicit drug dealing market now, so in a sense they are under ground.

"There is availability on the internet with these drugs even though they are forbidden to be sold on the web but dealers are finding ways around this," said Mr MacGiobun.

Apartment owners in the Hanover Street area in the Dublin Docklands were the target of "snow blow" drug dealers last week who strategically placed a free sample of the drug at front doors late one night to attract a new breed of addicts.

Already linked to at least 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone, Mr MacGiobun said: "It [snow] has got more expensive since the closure of the head shops, it was being sold for between €15 and €20 a gram in the head shop and now it has almost trebled in price."

The North Inner City Drugs Task Force has advised anyone to report such a suspicious discovery to their local garda station or to contact Dial To Stop Drug Dealing and Threats on Freephone 1800 220 220.

Sunday Independent

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