Home > High uptake of sterile crack pipes in response to surge in cocaine use in Dublin.

Millar, Sean (2018) High uptake of sterile crack pipes in response to surge in cocaine use in Dublin. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 67, Autumn 2018, p. 17.

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An article published in July 2018 by The Journal.ie explained that needle exchange services in Dublin had noted a strong uptake of clean crack pipes by service users in response to a surge in the availability and consumption of crack cocaine in 2018.1


Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), which offers a range of services for people who are homeless and experiencing addiction issues, began providing clean crack pipes from its centre on the south quays on 13 July; 69 pipes were dispensed in the scheme’s first week of operation. The Ana Liffey Drug Project (ALDP), which runs an outreach needle and syringe programme based in Middle Abbey Street, began handing out reusable crack pipes in April 2017. Since then, 287 pipes have been distributed. Of these, almost one-half (128) were handed out between March and July 2018. ALDP noted that while most of their clients smoke crack, staff have recently been engaging with a cohort of people who are neck-injecting the drug, an activity which ALDP describes as a ‘very risky activity’.


The use of cocaine has now returned to Celtic Tiger levels in Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) has recently launched a new harm reduction campaign, in conjunction with ALDP, to provide information and advice to users about both cocaine powder and crack cocaine.2 Tony Geoghegan, CEO of MQI, noted that individuals they deal with are primarily street drug users, rough sleepers, and people who are homeless, and that these would not necessarily be archetypal users, as cocaine use is more widespread across society. Nevertheless, he stated that it is important to address drug use in this cohort, as cocaine and crack have the propensity for harm very quickly.


1  Hennessy M and Brophy D (2018) High uptake of sterile crack pipes in response to surge in use of drug in Dublin, The Journal.ie, 22 July. Available online at: http://www.thejournal.ie/crack-dublin-4138921-Jul2018/

2  Health Service Executive (2018) Cocaine – reduce the harms. Dublin: Health Service Executive. 2018. Available online at: https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/media/pressrel/cocaine-reduce-the-harms.html

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Issue Title
Issue 67, Autumn 2018
November 2018
Page Range
p. 17
Health Research Board
Issue 67, Autumn 2018

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