Crack cocaine use soars in Ireland during pandemic, new report reveals


Crack appears to have exploded in Ireland during the pandemic, a new report reveals.

The drug market has also been “remarkably resistant” to Covid-19 and organized crime mobs altering their trafficking routes and using encrypted messaging services.

But “among the possible worrying developments” associated with the pandemic is the increase in crack cocaine.

Ireland is identified as one of the five countries where the availability of the drug appears to have increased.

The annual report of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) published on Wednesday also revealed that Europe’s main organized crime groups have adjusted their travel arrangements.

They have changed their routes and methods while at the wholesale level they resort more to smuggling through intermodal containers and commercial supply chains.

And there was less reliance on human mail.

Although street drug retail markets were disrupted during the initial closures and some localized shortages were encountered, drug dealers have changed the way they work.

The report states: “Drug sellers and buyers appear to have adapted by increasing their use of encrypted messaging services, social media apps, online sources, and courier and home delivery services.

“This raises concerns that a possible long-term impact of the pandemic is to further enable drug markets digitally.”

The report also suggests that any reductions in drug use with blockages wore off once things started to relax.

And he states: “In general terms, there appears to have been less consumer interest in drugs typically associated with recreational events, such as MDMA, and greater interest in drugs associated with home use. .

“However, the easing of movement and travel restrictions and the return of some social gatherings over the summer have been associated with a rebound in usage levels.”

Major concerns have also been noted about the misuse of benzodiazepines.

He also revealed that there was heavy drug use among high-risk addicts, inmates and some recreational addict groups.

And he said: “This potentially reflects the high availability and low cost of these substances and the mental health issues associated with the pandemic.

A record amount of cocaine was also seized in 2019 and shows its increasing consumption in Ireland and across the EU.

The record 213 tonnes of drugs seized in 2019 indicates an expanding supply in the European Union.

The purity of cocaine has increased over the past decade, and the number of people entering treatment for the first time has increased over the past five years.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said drugs were a “persistent and pervasive threat”.

She added: “The European Drug Report 2021 provides the latest evidence on this vital problem, which corrupts the fabric of our society, fuels violence and endangers the health and safety of our citizens.

“I am particularly concerned about the highly pure and potent substances available on our streets and online and the 46 new drugs detected in the EU in 2020 alone.

“With the new EU drug and security strategies, our Member States will have strong tools to deal with this emergency through a balanced approach, tackling both supply and request, supported by the EMCDDA. “

EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel added: “We are witnessing a dynamic and adaptive drug market resilient to COVID-19 restrictions. We are also seeing increasingly complex drug use patterns as users are exposed to a wider range of very potent natural and synthetic substances. “

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