How widespread is synthetic cannabis use in Ireland?

Help us find out by completing the 2016 Global Drug Survey

The dangers of synthetic cannabis were flagged last night when designer drugs were discussed, albeit in a rather one-dimensional fashion, on RTÉ One's Claire Byrne Live.

Last year's Global Drug Survey, for which Hot Press is the Irish partner, revealed that herbal cannabis, at €25 a gram, was still comprehensively outselling the new synthetic varieties which cost around a tenner for the same amount.

An alarming 3.5% of synthetic cannabis users had sought emergency medical treatment, compared to the 0.4% of traditional cannabis smokers who'd reported to Irish A&E over the previous 12 months.

"It'd be great if Irish cannabis dealers dropped their bloody prices," GDS coordinator Adam Winstock reflected, "because that'd remove the financial incentive to switch to synthetic cannabis, which is 30 more times likely to result in people seeking emergency medical treatment than even high-potency skunk. We're also identifying a risk of withdrawal symptoms with synthetic cannabis, which has never been a factor with cannabis. Drugs are a capitalist commodity; people have a finite amount of money and unfortunately some are tending to use a form of cannabis that's just really nasty and really dangerous."

Has the use of synthetic cannabis increased in Ireland over the past 12 months? What are people paying for it and how many of them have had to seek medical treatment? Help us find out by completing this year's anonymous www.globaldrugsurvey.com

The numbers will be crunched in a special Hot Press report, and the findings presented to government and law enforcement to hopefully bring about a more nuanced and informed approach to drug policy here.

 

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