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How often do people use drugs while working? Most often around exam time anyway

About one in eight Irish people who took a global survey admitted to doing it.

ABOUT ONE IN eight Irish people who took part in the Global Drug Survey said they’d used drugs at some point to help them with work or while studying.

They were even more likely to do so around exam time or at other stressful work periods.

As well as looking at the recreational use of drugs worldwide, the international survey also sought to see if drugs were used by people for cognitive enhancement.

The Global Drug Survey does not take a cross-section of every demographic but rather looks to probe trends and attitudes among people who have had some experience using drugs or alcohol.

More than 2,000 Irish people responded to that callout.

If found that 12% of Irish people said they’d used drugs to help them at work or while studying.

The use of drugs to help focus is much more likely among those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

The survey shows that Ireland was almost exactly on the worldwide average when it comes to the prevalence of drug use for work-related reasons.

The below table includes those with either of the stated disorders as well as those without them.


The most common drug for use in cognitive enhancement is methylphenidate, often used for the treatment of ADD and ADHD. Nearly 4% of Irish respondents to the survey who did not have either of those two disorders say they’d used methylphenidate.

One in forty (2.5%) of respondents say they’d used cocaine at work or while studying. Among those who’d said used some form of drugs at work, cocaine was the drug of choice for about one-in-seven “healthy” users.


Exam time

The survey looked at how often people who use drugs at work use them. It found that it’s most likely during stressful periods at work or around exam time. This is especially true for users without ADD or ADHD.

The research showed that, of those who use drugs for cognitive enhancement, just over 22% say they do it with prescription drugs during this period. For illegal drugs, the figure is 13.1%.


Sourcing the drugs for cognitive enhancement comes most commonly from friends according to the survey.


Read: Irish recreational drug users reveal cocaine and MDMA use – and talk ‘mystery white powders’ >

Read: Ireland has the highest percentage of people who need medical help after drinking too much >

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