Home > Cracking on: a harm reduction report.

O'Heaire, Gary (2013) Cracking on: a harm reduction report. Dublin: The Bawnogue Youth and Family Support Group.

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This report presents information gathered by the Bawnogue Youth and Family Support Group (BYFSG) street outreach worker during the twelve month period, January to December 2012, as part of a crack cocaine harm reduction service in the greater Clondalkin area.

Out of a total of 119 clients of the street outreach service, 84 availed of the crack pipe distribution service and in doing so they shared information with the street outreach worker which together with information gathered on cards and behavioural observations, created the basis for the data analysed in this report. What is clear from the information presented is that crack cocaine use has become a widespread, sustained and frequent part of the drug using scene in Clondalkin particularly among female drug users.

However, clients were aware of the risks of blood borne virus transmission as a result of their drug taking practices and were willing to engage in a service which could help them to minimise this risk as long as it did not require a significant change to their drug taking technique or interfere with the drug taking experience. Through a process of trial, consultation and observation, the BYFSG street outreach worker was able to illicit information on the most effective type of crack pipe which met the requirements of the drug users while at the same time minimising the risks of blood borne virus and other disease transmission.

This report outlines not only the information gathered to inform a more effective harm reduction strategy for crack cocaine use, but also lists the barriers to implementing such a strategy and how they might be addressed. The report also outlines a number of proposals for future consideration in relation to the development of a comprehensive community approach to harm reduction practices and crack cocaine use.

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