Irish people are amongst the biggest users of cocaine in the world.
A new UN report has found that more than one-in-forty people living in Ireland reported using cocaine in the past year.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime annual report found that Ireland only trails Australia, Spain and the Netherlands for cocaine use.
The 2.4% of people that said they had used the drug in the past year puts Ireland on a par with the US and Austria.
At the top of the list, some 4.2% of people in Australia said they had used it in the past 12 months.
The report notes that cocaine dealing is associated with violence and intimidation in disadvantaged communities.
It said drug users from vulnerable communities are often offered cocaine without having to pay for it up front, which can put them in debt to drug dealers and cause them to become victims or perpetrators of intimidation and violence.
Meanwhile, the study warns that a growing number of children as young as 10 to 14-years-old are taking part in “intimidation practices such as throwing stones at houses and damaging cars.”
The report warns that the drug market in Ireland is still dominated by Irish gangs – but warns that Albanian organized crime has started establishing its presence in the country.
It notes that expanding cocaine uses alongside Ireland’s potential role as a transit country for the UK market is, “likely to further attract organised crime groups which may lead to violent crashes in the future”.