#DoYouUseCocaine campaign attracting a lot of attention online

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.

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.

"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.

The Health Service says it is safest not to take drugs, and Eamon Keenan from the HSE says it is not an instruction manual.

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.

"I would certainly encourage the decriminalisation model."

- Digital Desk

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