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Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug among young adults in Ireland (but MDMA use is on the rise)

An annual report on drug use and trends across Europe was released today.

Image: Shutterstock/serpeblu

CANNABIS REMAINS THE most commonly used illegal drug among young adults in Ireland, according to the latest European drugs report.

The 2017 report by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) measures the prevalence of drug use, addiction, treatment and deaths in European countries.

It draws on data from various surveys and reports published in recent years.

The report found that cannabis is the most prevalent drug used among young adults in the country, with 13.8% of 15-34-year-olds saying they have taken the drug in the last year.

This is by far the most commonly used drug among this age group.

The next most commonly used drug among young adults is MDMA, with 4.4% of 15-34-year-olds saying they have taken it in the last year. This compares to just 1% of the same age group saying they had taken the drug in the past year in 2011.

cannabis Cannabis use among young adults in Ireland. Source: EMCDDA

The data is based of the latest survey on estimated drug use, which was conducted in 2015.

The next most prevalent drugs used are cocaine (2.9%) and amphetamines (0.6%).

Among children aged 15 to 16 years old, the data showed a decline the percentage of people who had used alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis in their lifetime.

MDMA MDMA use among adults in Ireland. Source: use among adults in Ireland.

Treatment and other stats

The report found that the most common addiction for people to be treated for was heroin.

Of the people who sought treatment in 2015, 41% did so primarily for heroin addiction. This was followed by cannabis (28%), cocaine (11%) and amphetamines (1%). 19% of people sought treatment for addiction to other drugs.

214 people suffered from drug-induced deaths in 2014. Of these, among the deaths with a known toxicology, 86% had opioids present in their system.

In general across Europe, the EMCDDA highlighted rising overdose deaths, the continued availability of new psychoactive substances and the growing health threat of highly potent synthetic opioids as the key issues of focus in the report.

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Commenting on the findings, Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship said that the impact of drug use continued to be a “significant challenge for European societies”.

“Over 93 million Europeans have tried an illicit drug in their lives and overdose deaths continue to rise for the third year in a row,” he said.

New psychoactive substances (NPS) – also known here as “legal highs” – continued to be a considerable public health issue in Ireland, according to the report.

In 2016, 66 NPS were detected for the first time across Europe.

By the end of 2016, the EMCDDA was monitoring more than 620 NPS (compared with around 350 in 2013).

“We are seeing sales of these drugs becoming more clandestine, with transactions moving online or onto the illicit drug market, and we have witnessed the recent appearance of some highly potent substances, which have been linked to deaths and serious intoxications,” said EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel.

You can read the full EMCDDA report for Ireland here, and the full report for all of Europe here

Read: ‘My parents used to tell me that Matthew was “on holiday”. I found letters addressed from Clover Hill’

Read: Fewer Irish children are getting drunk and doing drugs, study finds

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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