Crack-cocaine and synthetic cannabinoids: Concern over new drug trends in Dublin

CONCERN HAS BEEN raised over two apparent new drug trends in Dublin.

An increase in paraphernalia used to smoke crack-cocaine has been found in areas frequented by habitual drug users in the city.

There have also been reports to drug service workers of an increase in use of a type of synthetic cannabis – known on the streets as ‘moonshine’.

Laneways 

Needles and other items used when injecting heroin can be found littered in laneways and backstreets all over the city; staff at one tiny city centre park told TheJournal.ie earlier this year that up to 6,000 needles were found just inside the grounds of that green area.

Amongst the needles, tinfoil and alcohol wipes, there has been a rise in makeshift crack pipes being found. The photos below were all found discarded in areas where people are known to use drugs chaotically:

crack pipeSource: TheJournal.ie

c2Source: TheJournal.ie

c3Source: TheJournal.ie

Crack cocaine is a smokeable form of cocaine made by chemically altering cocaine powder to form crystals or rocks. It can quickly become both physically and psychologically addictive.

‘Moonshine’

In tandem with the apparent increased use of crack cocaine, drug workers also started receiving reports of a drug described to them as “homemade cannabis” in recent months.

One person reported that people they knew who smoked it were “out of their heads”.

The drug is referred to on the streets as ’moonshine’ – essentially synthetic cannabinoids sold in rock form. The rocks are sprayed with the synthetic cannabinoid and then with a solvent, and then smoked.

“We would be concerned about people who smoke moonshine (synthetic cannabinoids) and/or crack,” said Tony Duffin of the Ana Liffey Drug Project.

There is a wide variety of different drugs available on the streets of Dublin. Unfortunately, due to the cocktail of licit, illicit and unknown drugs, some people are taking, it is often a challenge to engage with those people due to their state of mind or erratic behaviour.
However, it is important to maintain contact with people who use drugs chaotically on the streets of our capital. That engagement is the foundation of life saving interventions and the bedrock for positive changes for those very isolated people.

The Ana Liffey Drug Project, which works with drug users and people who are homeless, will mark its 35th year in operation in 2017.

“Our work is as important as ever,” Duffin said. ”We will continue to work with all our partner agencies to help people who have complex and multiple needs.”

Related: Our Facebook Live walk down Dublin’s drug laneways >

Op-ed: It’s planned the first supervised injecting facility will open in 2017. So how did we get here?

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