Study shows that cocaine in Ireland is mixed with medicine for parasitic worms
The purity level of drugs vastly differs around the country.
Forensic Science Ireland have released data which shows that the average purity levels of amphetamines that were analysed in 2015 was 9.2%.
The average purity of street level cocaine in Dublin is 28% and 19% outside of Dublin.
Forensic Science Ireland are responsible for analysing any illicit drugs that are seized by An Garda Síochána and the Customs Service. After examining these seized drugs, the FSI then issue a Certificate of Analysis for court purposes, 8,000 seizures will be submitted for analysis in 2016.
Some of the common substances that were added to the cocaine that's being sold in Ireland, thus diluting its purity, include levamisole, benzocaine, lignocaine, caffeine and phenacetin. Levamisole is a veterinary medication that's used to treat parasitic worm infections and it's believed to be added during cocaine production to potentiate its effects. Benzocaine and lignocaine (also known as lidocaine) are local anesthetics commonly used by dentists. Phenacetin is a painkiller banned in a number of countries because it has been linked to certain cancers.
The average purity of street level heroin was 33% in Dublin and 35% outside Dublin. International comparisons from across Europe show that amphetamine seizures were typically of 9 – 19% purity, cocaine typically 33 – 50% purity and heroin usually 13 - 23%.
Common adulterants that were found in heroin include caffeine and paracetamol.
The principal drugs of abuse that were seized in Ireland during 2015 were cannabis, heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and MDMA.
As part of their service level agreement with An Garda Síochána, Forensic Science Ireland monitor the purity levels of the main illicit drugs that are being circulated in Ireland. FSI also analyse the purity of “bulk seizures” of cocaine, heroin and amphetamine by quantifying samples from all seizures of these drugs in packs weighing in excess of 25 grams.