It is no secret that cocaine use is widespread in Ireland.  

A 2021 report by the Health Research Board found that cocaine use across the country has doubled and is at its highest among men aged 25-34, rising from 2 per cent in 2002-03 to 9 per cent in 2019-20. 

Yet even with this alarming uptake, it can be difficult to know whether someone is struggling with cocaine addiction.

So how can you tell whether a friend or family member has an occasional cocaine habit or a much more serious problem?

Why is it important to recognise cocaine addiction?

With cocaine being among the most common recreational drugs, many people who are battling cocaine addiction may not even realise that they have a problem. 

Spotting the early signs of addiction can help ensure an individual gets access to the support they need to kick their habit as soon as possible.

Here are 10 signs you should look for if you suspect a friend or family member has an addiction to cocaine:

1. Dishonesty about using

They may try to disguise how much or how often they are using

2. Using alone or seeking out others who use

Using cocaine outside of social occasions or with other people who they know will agree to take it with them

3. Taking cocaine when they have said they aren’t going to

This includes taking cocaine when they have previously said they are going to reduce their usage or stop altogether

4. Going to extremes to get hold of it

Such as stealing or lying to friends, family, or their employer

5. Disinterest in other things

Losing interest in activities or situations that do not involve cocaine

6. Using cocaine outside of social occasions

At all times of the day or night, or while doing their job

7. Continuing to take it, even when it is causing them harm

This includes where cocaine is having a physical effect on their body, impacting upon relationships, or posing a risk to their job

8. Financial difficulties

People who have a long-term cocaine habit may get into financial difficulty, such as missing bill payments or being unable to explain where money is going

9. Isolation

They may stop spending as much time with friends or family for fear their addiction will be recognised

10. Poor mental health

Such as exhibiting signs of anxiety, paranoia, or depression

Drug testing at AlphaBiolabs

We provide a range of legal drug testing services, supporting family law professionals across Ireland who work with vulnerable children and families affected by drug use.

We also offer workplace drug testing, and home drug test kits for members of the public.

For more information on our services, call our Customer Services team on 01 402 9466 or email