Home > Cocaine use in Ireland: an exploratory study.

Mayock, Paula (2001) Cocaine use in Ireland: an exploratory study. In: A collection of papers on drugs issues in Ireland. Dublin: Health Research Board. pp. 80-152.

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In this paper the author presents results of the first study on cocaine use in Ireland. The research attempted to build up a picture of cocaine use nationally, using available indicators of drug use/misuse. The combined information from the following data sources is presented and analysed: law enforcement and supply statistics; drug treatment figures; school-going, college-going and general population surveys; morbidity and morality; and qualitative and ethnographic research. The perceptions of key informants and service providers, including drug service staff, Gardai and prison staff, youth and student workers, counsellors and doctors were sought. These are assessed under the headings of cocaine availability, the nature and extent of cocaine use, and implications for drug treatment and service provision. The conclusion drawn from both of these general information sources is that while opiates remain the primary drugs of misuse among drug users who access treatment, there is an increased likelihood of cocaine use among individuals whose main drug of misuse was heroin. The exploratory study of social/recreational cocaine was carried out using in depth interviews with ten adult cocaine users. An analysis of interview transcripts is presented under the following themes: socio-demographic characteristics of the interviewees; patterns of cocaine use and routes of administration; other drug use; first use of cocaine; frequency and contexts of cocaine use; availability, purity and price of cocaine; perceived attractive and unattractive aspects of cocaine; and, risk perceptions and self-regulation of cocaine intake. All of the study's respondents emphasised the social nature of their cocaine use and none reported 'problems' as a result of their use of the drug. The findings of the study strongly suggest an increased availability and use of cocaine, especially among certain groups of recreational poly-drug users. There are, however, also signs of increased cocaine use among opiate users in deprived areas of Dublin. The author recommends further research and monitoring of drug trends at local level to determine whether cocaine use is an expanding 'problem', or not.

Item Type
Book Section
Publication Type
Irish-related, Book
Drug Type
Call No
Ref. HRB
Page Range
pp. 80-152
Health Research Board
Place of Publication
includes bibliographical references, tables
Accession Number
HRB 77 (Available)

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