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Increase in people smoking and injecting crack cocaine in Dublin

Some service users have been injecting the drug into the neck.

A makeshift crack pipe found in Dublin this week.
A makeshift crack pipe found in Dublin this week.
Image: Tony Duffin

THERE HAS BEEN an increase in use of crack cocaine in the North Inner City area of Dublin in recent months.

Staff at the Ana Liffey Drug Project, which works with drug users and people who are homeless in the area, say there’s been a noticeable increase in use of the drug among service users since the summer.

Crack cocaine is a smokeable form of cocaine which is made by chemically altering cocaine powder to form crystals or rocks. It produces a short but intense high, with effects much stronger than cocaine powder.

Drug treatment services in Ireland began to notice increased use of the drug as far back as the late 1990s.

An increase in paraphernalia associated with crack cocaine, including makeshift pipes, was also noticed around some areas of Dublin city towards the end of last year.

The drug is typically inhaled, although some users in Dublin have also been injecting it.

“The North Inner City has seen a noticeable increase in crack use since the summer of 2017,” CEO of Ana Liffey Drug Project Tony Duffin said.

“People who use Ana Liffey services have reported that they are smoking crack and are availing of Ana Liffey’s needle and syringe programme to access safe, clean crack pipes to use instead of makeshift ones.

These crack pipes are designed to better protect the user’s lungs compared with using a homemade makeshift pipe, and offer a chance for staff to engage with people about their crack use.

Duffin said a small number of people had disclosed to Ana Liffey that they were injecting the drug, sometimes into the neck “which is a risky route of administration”.

People have also reported injecting speedballs – which are crack mixed with heroin.

Said Duffin:

Of the people who are accessing Ana Liffey and are using crack, all of them are also using other drugs, mainly tablets such as Pregabalin and Benzodiazepine.

Ana Liffey and the North Inner City Drugs Task Force are planning to launch a new campaign on awareness of crack cocaine use.

Read: ‘It takes me away from this world for the day’: Life as a homeless drug-user on the streets of Dublin >

Related: Dublin’s injecting alleyways >

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