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‘Snow Blow’ head shop drug linked to spike in rising HIV numbers

NewsBy Karl Doyle
'Snow Blow' is causing the spike in new HIV cases, it is believed
'Snow Blow' is causing the spike in new HIV cases, it is believed

There has been a surge in the number of intravenous drug users contracting HIV – and there is an investigation into the link between the increasing numbers and use of the former head shop drug ‘Snow Blow’.

The drug is seemingly more readily available now than it was when it was for sale in the shops on Ireland’s streets, and experts say that addicts tend to inject more often when using stimulants such as this than those addicted to heroin.

Snow Blow, also know as 4-Mec, is a synthetic cathinone PVP, and other drugs such as MDPV and Mephadrone are also being peddled under the moniker.

The surge in reported HIV cases among drug users is causing real concern, and the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre says that 11 men and five females have been confirmed since last June.

Considering that the drug users tend to share needles, and in the case of Snow Blow inject more often, it has the potential to become far more widespread.

Health workers are desperately attempting to get the message out to drug users that unsafe needle sharing practices and unprotected sex have the potential to cause huge risks as the spike in the numbers of those contracting HIV continues to rise.

It was reported recently that  there have been 13 new cases of the virus since 2014, nine of which have occurred this year.

A statement from the HSE said explained control measures have been in place by all clinics and health services aimed at increasing awareness about safe drug administering and safe sex. 

"The HSE is conducting an epidemiological study which includes newly infected persons to examine possible risk factors and enable us to make recommendations for control," the HSE said. 
 
"The HSE is also supporting those not on methadone to engage with services, enhancing treatment for those diagnosed with HIV and promoting access to safe needles/syringes and condoms across the services and networks."