€20-a-bag crystal meth floods onto city streets
Crystal meth from Chinese laboratories has hit the streets of Dublin, it is feared.
Street dealers have been selling drugs that they claim is the highly-addictive substance at the centre of US TV series Breaking Bad in increasing quantities in recent weeks.
"In the last four to six weeks our front-line workers have noticed this trend," said Tony Duffin, the director at the Ana Liffey Drug Project.
Its scientific name is methamphetamine and the users that the drugs project engaged with said they were buying it for €20 a bag - which would typically give the user four hits.
"A very experienced drugs worker said she engaged with a woman travelling in from Bray to the city centre to buy the drug and said that her friends were also taking it," said Mr Duffin.
"A substance being sold in Dublin city as methamphetamine (crystal meth) has been analysed and found to contain MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone). MDPV is one of the newer synthetic psychoactive drugs with stimulant properties," explained the experienced drug worker.
"There are certainly reports that people are selling and users believe they are purchasing methamphetamine," Mr Duffin added.
Gardai believe that the new synthetic stimulants appearing on the streets of Dublin are not being made here.
"It's been picked up very early, but anecdotal evidence shows that it is coming in from China," said the source.
Gardai are certain that MDPV is on sale in the capital, and has been for the last four to six weeks, but so is another drug.
"PVP (pyrrolidinopentiophenone), which is similar to MDPV, has shown up on the streets in the last two to three weeks," said the source.
He added that dealers were selling these drugs as crystal meth.
Users can either smoke or inject crystal meth.
Signs of abuse include suicidal thoughts, violence, paranoia and delirium.
People who consume the stimulants use it more regularly than they would an opiate like heroin.
An addiction could develop into needing the drug every two hours.
As the gardai and various drug treatment services work closely together with regular meetings Mr Duffin said that the new trend "has been picked up on quite early".
Due to his concern about the development he said: "We need to know as quickly and as accurately as possible so that we can test these drugs."