A new campaign to reduce the harm of cocaine and crack is raising a few eyebrows with its hard-hitting advice.
The campaign, jointly launched by the HSE and the Ana Liffey Drug Project earlier, includes advice like using cocaine with trusted friends or grinding before snorting.
Irish young adults are the fourth highest users of cocaine in Europe, and the drug is getting purer and more easily available.
The HSE has denied the new campaign actually encourages drug use.
Today I launched the #DoYouUseCocaine harm reduction campaign, a collaboration between @HSELive & @AnaLiffey which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of using cocaine, reduce harm & save lives. The message is clear; it's safest not to take drugs but if you do know the risks pic.twitter.com/S0M9UyIHk5— Catherine Byrne TD (@CByrneTD) July 17, 2018
Minister Catherine Byrne says it is about helping people who do use drugs.
Ms Byrne said: "I think today's campaign should be about helping people who unfortunately are addicted to cocaine and crack cocaine, helping them if they are going to use it into the future of how to use it if there is a proper word, correctly.
Also gives advice to crack users like avoid smoking the whole rock, and if injecting, start low and go slow pic.twitter.com/NvyqRPRMW5— Juliette Gash (@JulietteGash) July 17, 2018
"Particularly around the health issues that combine with using both of those drugs and the mix of drugs as well. It kills people."
Grind cocaine to remove clumps, use your own straw and never mix with alcohol is some of the advice from the HSE for those who choose to use the drug.
#DoYouUseCocaine the money for this could have been put towards mental health. I think most casual users don't really care whether it's safe or not. But they'll be the ones joining waiting lists regardless— Wayne Power (@PowerWayne) July 17, 2018
The Health Service says it is safest not to take drugs, and Eamon Keenan from the HSE says it is not an instruction manual.
This #doyouusecocaine campaign just looks like the #Irish govt giving up on rehab and treatment programs (to the uneducated/ignorant, AKA the public). Poorly executed campaign. #learntosocialmedia @HSELive— Brewji (@Brewji) July 17, 2018
He said: "It's very much a health response and a harm-reduction message.
"We didn't give specific information about how to make crack cocaine, but we highlighted the dangers associated with cocaine and crack cocaine use."
CEO of Ana Liffey, Tony Duffin, said: "I think there has been a realisation that actually this is a more complex situation and policy area than first envisaged of 'let's just say no'.
"So, there is a working group that is looking at alternatives to responding to the possession of drugs for personal use.
Very positive initiative. and a welcome change in approach from @HSELive. The reality is that some people will take risky mind-altering substances, and if they do so, better they do so as safely as possible.#DoYouUseCocaine? https://t.co/jlmfzmL3l2— William Quill (@WilliamQuill) July 17, 2018
To give credit where it's due. Harm prevention campaigns like this are badly needed. Regardless of where one stands on drug use or decriminalisation, the reality is that there are people using... https://t.co/Zn0GFZAtuN— SHAGGE//J•WALKER (@SHAGGEMUSIC) July 17, 2018
- Digital Desk