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Over 1 in 10 people in south Dublin reported taking an illegal drug recently

The current levels of illegal drug use in 2014/15 rose since the study was last carried out in 2010/11.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/The Adaptive

A SURVEY ON the use of illegal drugs in Ireland has been published, providing a regional breakdown on the use of the likes of cannabis, cocaine and heroin across the country for the year 2014/15.

Published by cross-border government agency NACDA, the survey covered both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, with a total of 9,505 respondents recording their use of the likes of illegal drugs, prescription medicines, alcohol and gambling.

It asked people to say if they’d taken an illegal drug, and if so what drug they had taken, in the past month, the past year and over their lifetime.

The figures are broken down by regional drug and alcohol taskforces, as seen below.

dtf Source: NACDA

Some of the main findings of the report were:

  • Almost one third of people (30.7%) said they’d taken an illegal drug at some time in their life.
  • Cannabis was the most commonly used illegal drug across every region, with its use in the last year in adults aged 15 to 34 increasing across most regions when compared to the last report in 2010/11.
  • Recent use of any illegal drug was highest in the south-western region of Dublin, covering parts of the capital, Wicklow and Kildare, with 12% reporting recent drug use.
  • The use of ecstasy has risen across a number of areas, with high increases seen in the West – covering Galway and parts of Mayo and Roscommon – and the south-western region of Dublin.
  • The lowest rates of any illegal drug use in the last year among adults aged 15 to 35 were found in the most southerly regions – Cork, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford among others.
  • Men (38.8%) are much more likely to have taken some form of illegal drugs than women (22.6%) in their lifetime.

The chair of the NACDA – The National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol – Professor Catherine Comiskey said: “A comparison of the 2014/15 figures with the 2010/11 figures shows an overall increase in recent and current use of cannabis, ecstasy and anti-depressants in many regions.”

Minister for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne said that the figures strengthened the evidence used to form the new National Drugs Strategy, which she hopes to bring to government by the end of March.

The full report can be viewed here.

Read: Regional differences in illegal drug use narrows

Read: Levels of illegal drug use within Ireland are on the rise

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Sean Murray

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