The coronavirus outbreak will cut demand for cocaine and other drugs if it leads to hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, gardaí believe.

“The recreational drug user – the guy who takes cocaine at weekends – may not be spending their money on cocaine, as we saw with the fall-off in usage during the economic crash in 2008”, said a Garda source.

Heroin usage is not likely to be as affected. Given its highly addictive nature, those needing a heroin fix are unlikely to be too aware, or concerned, about wider issues in society such as the coronavirus pandemic.

“If a guy or a girl is on heroin, they have an addiction, and they’re likely to be oblivious to coronavirus. They will need to get their four or five bags a day, and they will trample over anything to get their fix. They’ll still be mixing in the same circles to get their heroin, so nothing is going to change for them except maybe there are fewer people on the street that they can beg for money from”, The Irish Times was told.

Coronavirus is also thought unlikely to affect people who smoke cannabis or weed as most of these users have long-term suppliers. The closure of pubs and nightclubs is also thought to have little impact as you can’t smoke in pubs or clubs.

Cocaine use could be hit because of club closures because a certain percentage is sold to clubbers.

Cocaine price could fall

The global production of cocaine is up and last year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said it was at record levels. This surge in production means more of the product is reaching Irish shores.

However, experts predict that cocaine prices could fall from €70,000 a kilo to possibly €60,000 or €50,000. However, the virus pandemic is unlikely to lead to any major fall-off in supply, reports the Irish Times. Cocaine imports from Colombia and Venezuela to Irish cities like Dublin and Cork – though Africa and Continental European countries – will continue to arrive, taking up to 7 weeks. Most arrive in truck containers, hidden in consignments of products as varied as fruit and tiles. They are unloaded in Irish ports, where they are picked up by gangs for distribution to lower level dealers.

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