The HSE has bought and distributed virtually 50,000 crack pipes since 2016, because the variety of individuals utilizing the drug in Ireland continues to rise.
Well being companies started distributing crack pipes a number of years in the past as a part of the Authorities’s “hurt discount technique” outlined within the Nationwide Drug and Alcohol Technique.
The sterile glass pipes are distributed by the HSE and native drug therapy companies to forestall crack cocaine customers from participating in dangerous behaviours reminiscent of sharing pipes or making their very own.
Like needle-sharing, sharing of crack pipes will increase the chance of illness transmission, significantly hepatitis C.
In accordance with figures launched to The Irish Instances, the HSE Habit Service has bought and distributed 49,021 pipes since 2016 at a price of €65,000, or €1.30 per pipe.
These have been distributed in Dublin, Limerick and Galway the place the speed of crack use has been a matter of accelerating concern. The determine doesn’t embody pipes distributed by native drug companies.
In 2016, 3,414 crack pipes have been distributed to customers. By 2020 this had risen to 12,882, a 277 per cent improve.
That is in distinction to the variety of sterile needles distributed by the HSE for heroin use, which has remained broadly secure lately. Since 2016, it has distributed slightly below three million needles at a price of about €800,000, the figures present.
In addition to stopping the unfold of illness, distributing sterile drug paraphernalia is an efficient method of reaching drug customers and providing them acceptable therapy, stated Dr Eamon Keenan, the nationwide medical lead for the HSE Habit Providers.
Though sterile needle distribution continues to dwarf the distribution of crack pipes, latest proof suggests the crack downside has been worsening dramatically.
The variety of individuals handled for crack cocaine use elevated by 44 per cent between 2018 and 2019, in accordance with the report from the Health Research Board (HRB) launched final July. It known as the rise a “worrying pattern”.
Crack is a smokable type of cocaine which produces a a lot stronger however shorter-lasting excessive than its father or mother drug. That is sometimes adopted by an intense longing for extra, and habit can set in quickly.
It’s sometimes smoked in a glass pipe or a home made tube made out of a plastic bottle and is normally less expensive than cocaine, retailing for as little as €15 a dose.
The rise in using crack is probably going linked to the elevated availability of cocaine, from which it’s made.
Garda sources say cocaine use in Eire lately has surpassed Celtic Tiger ranges. The Garda Nationwide Medication and Organised Crime Bureau seized a file quantity of medicine in 2020, together with 209kg of cocaine, valued at €14.6 million. The variety of individuals being handled for cocaine habit has tripled since 2013.