SOME Cork crack cocaine users presenting for treatment are telling drug counsellors of injecting the drug with heroin for a better buzz.
"Snowballing" is a well known trend in the US.
However, drug therapist Mike Guerin of Cuan Mhuire, which has a treatment centre in Farnanes, said: "We have had a few users from Cork who have talked about engaging in snowballing, which is people injecting themselves with heroin and crack simultaneously."
And he said: "Crack cocaine has been on the increase for the past two years in Ireland. We are seeing a lot of it in Cork, Dublin and Limerick."
Mr Guerin was speaking following the release of the Health Research Board's latest report on drug treatment in 2019 yesterday.
The report outlined an increase of 44% last year in the number of people presenting for treatment for addiction to crack cocaine.
At a recent court hearing in Cork, evidence was presented that an accused man had spent large amounts of money on crack cocaine over a 12-hour period.
And last September,revealed that users of the lethal drug are turning to treatment centres in Cork for help in tackling addiction to it.
Crack cocaine was rampant across the US in the 1980s.
It is in the same family as cocaine but is more potent and more addictive.
It can be smoked or injected.
Yesterday's report also highlighted a continuing increase in cocaine use, accounting for 24% of presentations for treatment last year. This compared with just 8% in 2013.
The Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, said the report highlights "a worrying development in relation to the continuing rise of cocaine use and crack cocaine use in Ireland."