The largest increase in drug abuse experienced by Cornmarket Project services in Wexford last year was among younger people using new psychoactive substances.
Paul Delaney, addiction care and rehabilitation coordinator, said that although many of the substances in these drugs are banned, manufacturers are constantly changing the ingredients and formulas to try and circumvent the law.
This type of drug use is very worrying because such drugs can disrupt the cognitive abilities of those who use them, putting them at even greater risk than the usual problems associated with an overdose, "he said.
The drugs are sold in Wexford under names like Black Mamba, Spice and Exodus. The Cornmarket coordinator mentioned an example of one person who was referred to the project after using "Spice", a synthetic cannabinoid that is highly addictive.
The young man took the drug in the wrong belief that it was cannabis and it resulted in carrying out a serious attack on another teenager with a subsequent criminal charge and appearance before the court.
& # 39; This was a case of a teenager who had never been in trouble before and who had no violent tendencies, and was ultimately so badly hit by counterfeit cannabis that he literally did not know what he was doing & # 39 ;, said Paul .
& # 39; You can only imagine how dangerous such drugs are and the really worrying aspect is that they are often bought via the Internet.
Last year the Cornmarket Project dealt with 380 people who presented problems with addiction abuse. Of these, 56 people used heroin; 145 were cannabis users; 48 used cocaine and the rest were users of polydrugs or those who used various medications and who also had problems with alcohol abuse.
The Wexford project celebrates its 19th anniversary this year – in 1999, the year it was founded, 37 people sought drug abuse support and this year this number is expected to be 430.