More than one in forty people living in Ireland reported using cocaine in the past year, according to an annual report issued by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Ireland is fourth on the list - on a par with the US and Austria - with Australia, Spain and the Netherlands taking the top spots. 2.4 per cent of Irish people in the survey said they had used the drug in the past year, while for Australia it was 4.2 per cent.
The report also states drug users from vulnerable communities are often offered cocaine without having to pay for it up front. This can then put them in debt to drug dealers and cause them to become victims or perpetrators of intimidation and violence. In this way, cocaine dealing is associated with violence and intimidation in disadvantaged communities.
Even more worryingly, the study warns that a growing number of children as young as 10 to 14-years-old are taking part in “intimidation practices such as throwing stones at houses and damaging cars.”
According to the report, the drug market in Ireland is still dominated by Irish gangs. However, organized crime from Albania has started establishing its presence in the country. Expanding cocaine uses alongside Ireland’s potential role as a transit country for the UK market is “likely to further attract organised crime groups which may lead to violent crashes in the future”, reports Newstalk.
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