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WD-SNORTY! Landlords use lubricant - to stop coke fiends.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE By JOE OLIVER

CLUB and bar bosses across Ireland are arming themselves with a new 'weapon' to combat soaring cocaine abuse.

Worried that their toilets are becoming sniffing galleries for cocaine-users, landlords are now spraying the rooms with WD-40.

The lubricant, normally used for oiling squeaking doors and machinery, renders the drug useless if cocaine is placed on the treated area.

The Class A drug congeals to a sticky mess and can't be snorted.

One Dublin bar-owner we spoke to revealed that he has been spraying his toilets with the aerosol for the past month.

"I was plagued with coke - everyone is. There's more coke being sold in bars than there is drink.

"I got the tip from a drug prevention officer and word about it is now spreading like wildfire.

"I've found a number of messy situations when I inspected my toilets but users usually get the message and take their drug elsewhere.

"I can't stop people from taking cocaine but I can try and stop them from taking it on my premises," he explained.

One of Ireland's leading experts on drugs, Tony Geoghegan of the Merchant's Quay Project, said he appreciated bar-owners were only trying their best to clean up their act.

However he warned that mixing the drug with other chemicals could have serious consequences.

"There's no question that cocaine is the drug on the up in Ireland.

"Obviously there's more heroin being used by serious abusers but if cocaine continues to spread like it is, it is going to be the real drug of choice.

"I am not completely familiar with using WD-40 as a form of prevention.

"I appreciate that most responsible bar owners simply don't want to see their premises turned into a drug den.

"But I am concerned about the format cocaine would take if it was mixed with other chemicals.

"Nobody knows exactly what is in cocaine in the first place because it is mixed so much.

"Anybody desperate enough will try and get cocaine into their bodies no matter what it has been mixed with.

"It doesn't matter if it congeals into a blob - they'll try and smoke it then.

"I have to say I would be a little concerned about that," he said.

Cocaine use across Ireland has spread rapidly in recent years.

A chilling Primetime documentary on the drug carried out a series of swab tests on various bars across Ireland.

After being sent for testing to a laboratory 19 out of 20 swabs taken randomly from bars showed positive traces of the drug.

A Garda spokesman said he could not comment on the use of WD-40 as a cocaine buster.

"Cocaine use is on the rise. How publicans decide to deal with cocaine use on their premises is up to them," he said.

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2005
Words:479
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