Cork Local Drugs Task Force Launches Cocaine Public Awareness Campaign



A public awareness campaign focused on cocaine use will be launched today (10th December 2008) by the Cork Local Drugs Task Force (CLDTF) in the Imperial Hotel, Cork at 2.30pm. The campaign will highlight the dangers of using cocaine and what services are available in Cork in helping cocaine users kick the habit.

The campaign aims to deliver the following key messages that;

  • cocaine is not a clean drug
  • cocaine is directly linked to crime
  • cocaine costs – both personal and financial
  • There is a high risk associated with poly-drug use, particularly alcohol and cocaine

David Lane, Co-ordinator of Drug & Alcohol Services, HSE South said, “This campaign aims to educate people about the negative effects of cocaine use. A lot of people aren’t aware of the dangers associated with the misuse of drugs on the individual, families and the wider community. Many people who think of themselves as 'recreational cocaine users' are unaware of the damage that cocaine use can cause such as putting your physical and mental health at risk. Cocaine use can cause chest pain, raised blood pressure, cardiac arrest (heart attack), respiratory (breathing) problems, strokes, seizures and kidney failure. Snorting cocaine damages the membranes which line the nose while injecting cocaine can cause abscesses and infections such as Hepatitis C and HIV, if equipment is shared” explained Mr. Lane.

Research conducted on behalf of the HSE has shown that public awareness about cocaine is low. Nearly two thirds of users (64%) only agree slightly, don’t know or disagree that cocaine is a highly addictive drug and two in five cocaine users (41%) are not worried about the effect the drug might have on their health. About one in seven cocaine users become addicted and around one in twenty become addicted in the first year of use.

Crucially, 42% of cocaine users do not think that taking alcohol with cocaine was any more dangerous than using cocaine on its own, but these substances can combine in a person’s system to produce a highly toxic chemical in the body. Cocaine overdoses are unpredictable; using cocaine with other drugs, particularly alcohol is even more risky. Cocaine and alcohol combine in the body to form another drug – cocaethylene – which is more toxic than either drug on its own. This can make users up to 24 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Associated posters and beer mats (see attached) have been produced for the campaign with a free phone number – 1800 929 555 which offers a wide range of advice and support to the public. A website – is also available where people can log on and avail of live-chat facilities with experts.

The CLDTF was established in 1997 to develop a strategic, locally based response to drug use in Cork. The task force combines members from statutory, voluntary and community sectors and is made up of representatives from the Health Service Executive South, representatives from the community who are nominated by Cork City Partnership, FÁS, Probation Services, Public Representatives, the Garda Síochána, the Prison Service, the Department of Education and Science, City of Cork VEC, Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF) and Cork City Council.

The CLDTF focuses on the development of community based initiatives to link in with and add volume to the programmes and services already being delivered or planned by the statutory agencies which now supports and funds thirty five projects in Cork City.

Last updated on: 10 / 12 / 2008