Fianna Fáil Dublin Mid-West TD, John Curran has said the surge in supply and demand for illicit crack cocaine in the Capital has reached new proportions and requires a specialist response from the State.

Specialist drug treatment centre, Coolmine, have confirmed today that there has been an increase in the number of admissions to its Dublin based services for problem crack cocaine use. The drug has now overtaken heroin in its prevalence among those seeking support.

Curran said, “Crack cocaine is relatively cheap, easily sourced on streets, quickly cooked, highly addictive, and its shipments from abroad have flooded our vibrant city. The consequences of crack cocaine use and its illegal sale in our communities are deeply troubling.

“It’s quite obvious in recent months that there has been shift in drug trends in Ireland – strewn among the discarded used needles are pipes and tinfoil. Its growing popularity has led Dublin’s crack market to swiftly expand.

“Gardaí operating within community policing and drug units are under increasing pressure to respond to an unprecedented degree in distribution of a drug that is rapidly destroying once healthy individuals and tearing apart once close knit families.

“For every single person suffering in addiction there is merciless dealer enabling their habit for their profit.

“Any successful attempt to gain control of the spread of this drug is hinged on the Gardaí’s ability to ruthlessly target and disrupt the suppliers and dealers of crack cocaine. The resources allocated to the Garda Drugs Unit have been drained over the past decade despite the fact that drug use and the associated crime have steadily risen over the same period.

“Crack is a complex drug and those on crack cocaine need psychosocial intervention and support. The full restoration of 2008 level funding for local, community based drugs services and local youth organisations is paramount.

“This is a scourge never before seen in Ireland. An altogether new, multifaceted approach is required. One that incorporates the work of the Prison Service, the HSE, the Department of Social Protection and An Garda Síochana,” he concluded.