The use of cocaine and crack cocaine is growing faster in the Republic than in most European countries and cocaine has become purer and more plentiful due to the “Uberisation” of the trade, a major new study has found.
Of the 30 European countries studied, more people in Ireland had used cocaine in the “last 12 months” than any other nation apart from the United Kingdom and Spain.
The Republic was among a group of six countries that recorded a significant increase in numbers of crack cocaine users presenting for treatment since 2014. Cannabis was growing in popularity more rapidly with young people in Ireland and Finland of all the nations whose drugs trends were reviewed.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has pointed to the “Uberisation” of the cocaine trade.
This involved the use of social media and technology to lower barriers of entry into the cocaine trade and to bring about instant delivery of the drug to users in the way Uber had transformed the taxi trade.
“Smaller (criminal) groups have been able to enter the market by using a range of information technology like encryption, darknet market places, social media for dealing and cryptocurrencies,” the European Drug Report, Trends and Developments concludes.
Source: Conor Lally, The Irish Times, 7th June 2019