DRUG users are being duped into buying grass instead of cannabis, while others are being robbed when going to collect drugs, as the availability of substances in Cork is hit by Covid-19.
Sources have toldthat there was one incident close to Cork city in recent days in which a drug user was assaulted and robbed when he went to collect an amount of drugs for his own personal use.
The user had contacted his attacker through a social media account because his usual source for drugs was not available due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
He did not report the attack to gardaí because he feared he would end up in trouble himself for attempting to purchase a controlled drug.
Addicts are being offered crack cocaine for sale but later discover the substance they have been sold is not the highly addictive drug.
And in another case, a cannabis user collected a drugs deal and handed over money for it, before discovering he had been duped into buying a bag of grass.
Similar incidents have occurred across Cork city in recent weeks.
One source said that herbs are also being sold as cannabis, while the drug known as spice is also being replaced by herbs.
Another source said: "People are stepping outside of their comfort zones now to get cannabis and other drugs."
Addiction counsellor with Cuan Mhuire, Michael Guerin, said addicts contacting them are saying there is a shortage of cannabis during the Covid-19 outbreak.
And he said there is always a danger of drug users being given something different to what they thought they were buying, even before the restrictions around Covid-19.
In recent days, the Health Service Executive has launched a campaign urging caution by people who purchase drugs online.
The campaign warns: "Overdose risks could increase due to changes to the drug market as a result of travel restrictions. If you use tablets that are not prescribed to you, you are at risk of overdose. You can’t be sure of the contents or how you react."