Cocaine has for the first time overtaken heroin as the main drug people are seeking treatment for, in what experts say could be a “tipping point” in Ireland’s battle with addiction.
New figures for 2021 show the number of cocaine treatment cases has tripled in the last six years, in marked contrast with most other illegal drugs.
The continuing surge in cocaine cases includes within it a double-whammy of rapidly rising crack cocaine cases — confirming recent reports from drug agencies working on the ground in much of Dublin and in Limerick.
On the main problem drug people are seeking treatment for, a new report from the Health Research Board (HRB) shows:
- Total cocaine cases (new and existing cases) rose from 1,026 in 2015 to 3,248 in 2021, rising each of those years;
- Total cocaine cases accounted for 30% of all cases in 2021, compared to 10% in 2015;
- New cocaine cases (seen as a better indicator of trends) more than trebled, from 513 to 1,615, also rising each year;
- Cocaine accounted for 38% of new cases in 2021, compared to 14% in 2015;
- Females accounted for 25% of cocaine cases in 2021, compared to 19% in 2015;
- Crack cocaine accounted for 17% of cases in 2021, compared to 9% in 2015.
Source: Cormac O'Keeffe, The Irish Examiner, 13/06/22