Lethal crack cocaine use overtaking heroin abuse
Crack cocaine use is on the rise as more people presenting at a treatment centre are hooked on the deadly drug than on heroin.
Coolmine, an organisation helping people with drug addiction in Dublin, has said it has seen an increase in the number of people using its services with a crack cocaine addiction.
A third of people presenting at Coolmine have reported being addicted to the drug, compared to 31pc of people using heroin.
Communities in areas across Dublin have reported serious issues around crack cocaine use, and gardaí have successfully targeted a number of crime gangs dealing the dangerous substance.
Crack is a form of cocaine which can be smoked and is made by chemically altering cocaine powder to form crystals or rocks. It is highly addictive.
Fianna Fáil Dublin Mid-West TD John Curran said the study shows the surge in supply and demand for illicit crack cocaine in Dublin has reached new proportions and requires a specialist response from the State.
"Crack cocaine is relatively cheap, easily sourced on streets, quickly cooked, highly addictive, and its shipments from abroad have flooded our vibrant city," he said.
"The consequences of crack cocaine use and its illegal sale in our communities are deeply troubling.
"It's quite obvious in recent months that there has been shift in drug trends in Ireland - strewn among the discarded used needles are pipes and tinfoil.
"Its growing popularity has led Dublin's crack market to swiftly expand."
Mr Curran added: "Gardaí operating within community policing and drug units are under increasing pressure to respond to an unprecedented degree in distribution of a drug that is rapidly destroying once healthy individuals and tearing apart once close-knit families.
"For every single person suffering in addiction there is a merciless dealer enabling their habit for their profit.
"Any successful attempt to gain control of the spread of this drug is hinged on the Garda's ability to ruthlessly target and disrupt the suppliers and dealers of crack cocaine.
"The resources allocated to the Garda Drugs Unit have been drained over the past decade despite the fact that drug use and the associated crime have steadily risen over the same period."
Gardaí targeting drug dealing in the north-inner city have previously made several seizures of the drug while €50,000 of crack cocaine was seized in the south-inner city recently.
A Ballymun-based gang dealing the drug has also been a prime target for gardaí and is suspected of flooding the area with crack cocaine.