Cocaine - 'the party's over'

A National Public Awareness Campaign focussed on cocaine use was launched in February 2008 by Minister of State, Mr Pat Carey, TD. The campaign aims to deliver the following key messages:

  • The high risk of poly-drug use, particularly alcohol and cocaine
  • That cocaine is not a clean drug
  • That cocaine is directly linked to crime
  • That there is a cost to use – both personal and financial.

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 did 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 the highly toxic ‘cocaethylene’. This can make users up to 24 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Speaking at the launch, Assistant National Director, Population Health, HSE, Catherine Murphy, said: “Experts from the areas of drugs services and health promotion have worked together to develop a campaign that will inform people about the dangers associated with cocaine use while dispelling the myths that exist around the drug.”

The campaign offers a wide range of support services to the public, including the HSE infoline, an SMS service, a general booklet about drugs, a leaflet that is specifically about cocaine and a website – www.drugs.ie – where people logging on can avail of live-chat facilities with experts at certain times.

‘The Party’s Over’ is an integrated public awareness campaign taking in advertising, Public Relations, and online and ambient media in order to deliver key messages comprehensively throughout the country, region by region.

Last updated on: 12 / 02 / 2008