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Ireland has one of Europe's highest levels of drugs fatalities

A new UN report also highlights the rise in the use and distribution of so-called ‘legal highs’

A drug addict holds up a heroin needle (File photo)
A drug addict holds up a heroin needle (File photo)
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

IRELAND HAS ONE of the highest rates of death from drug use in Europe according to a new United Nations (UN) report.

The UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime has reported in its annual World Drug Report that Ukraine, Iceland, Luxembourg and Ireland have some of the highest mortality rates in Europe with more than 100 drug-related deaths per one million inhabitants aged between 15 and 64.

These figures are twice the European average.

Ireland and Sweden reported an increase in the prevalence of heroin use as the overall heroin problem appeared to be stabilising in most countries according to the report.

Cocaine use also featured prominently with Ireland having a higher than average rate of use of the drug. However, this was based on data that was from 2007. In Ireland, cocaine seizures peaked in 2007, and have declined significantly since then, according to the report.

The report said Ireland had one of the highest street prices for heroin in Europe at €147 per gramme compared with the European average of around €50.

Globally, production of opium fell by almost 40 per cent last year. This was linked to an opium blight in Afghanistan with the prediction being that figures will rebound this year.

The report also indicated that globally, cocaine production fell by about one-sixth.

However, the gains made in tackling global drug use are being offset by the rising consumption of so-called synthetic and prescription drugs.

Seizures of psychoactive drugs have been on the rise and the emergence of synthetic compounds have led to the creation of ‘legal highs’ that act as a substitute for illegal drugs.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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