According to counsellors at the Cuan Mhuire treatment centre for women, addiction to crack cocaine was unheard of until recent times.
However, a number of women have become addicted to the powerful drug and sought help from the treatment centre this year.
Gardaí have also confirmed that they are now seeing more of the deadly drug on Cork’s streets, although a spokesman said that the number of seizures is still low compared to other drugs.
The majority of crack cocaine seizures are small quantities for personal use, but there has been a noticeable increase in these over the past two years.
Counsellor at Cuan Mhuire, Michael Guerin, said presentations for treatment for crack cocaine would “almost have been unheard of” up to this year.
Crack cocaine is either smoked or injected, similar to heroin.
It is made by combining cocaine powder with ammonia or baking soda, and boiling it.
When cooled, the new substance is similar to crystals.
Up to 10 women who were hooked on crack have sought treatment from the Cuan Mhuire centre in Farnanes this year, compared with none previously.