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Coke, cannabis and getting clean: Ireland's drug problem, in numbers

How many Irish people have tried cocaine? How about cannabis? And how accessible is detox to those who need it?

Image: JordiDelgado via Shutterstock

EVERY WEEK, TheJournal.ie offers a selection of statistics and numerical nuggets to help you digest the week that has just passed.

This week, the week in numbers focusses on the annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, which was published this week.

The report focusses on the abuse of illicit drugs in Europe – and regularly references Ireland in its findings.

3 per cent – The amount by which government spending on drugs fell in 2010 when compared to the previous year.

0 – The level of government funding for a national action plan on tackling drug abuse in Ireland, according to the report. Portugal and Slovakia have similar issues, but are listed as having set up committees of ministers to come up with new plans. There is no such claim for Ireland.

7 – The number of countries in which detox and rehab services are thought to be available to fewer than half of the people who need them. Ireland is one of the countries; the others are Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Romania and Norway.

12 – The number of European countries in which detox services are available to “almost all” who need them.

2 – The number of European countries where legislation against head shop products is wide enough not to need constant revision. Only Ireland and Romania have laws against the products which ban them based on their properties and not on their explicit names.

16 per cent – The proportion of Ireland’s ‘young population’ (18 to 34 years) who said they had tried ‘legal highs’ in their lifetime. That’s the highest of any EU member state.

4 per cent – The proportion of Irish people who told a survey they had used legal highs in the previous year; this was second only to cannabis (6 per cent) in terms of the popularity of illicit drugs among the general population.

6 – The number of EU members where the proportion of the population who said they were cannabis users had increased since the previous EU-wide survey was undertaken in the middle of the last decade. Ireland is one of the six.

18 per cent - The proportion of Irish 15 and 16-year-olds who said they had used cannabis. This – surprisingly, given the other figures – is below the EU average of 20 per cent.

37 per cent – The number of people of a similar age who said they had used cannabis in a similar survey in 1996.

4.5 per cent – The use of amphetamines in the general population in Ireland. This is the fourth-highest in Europe, behind only the UK, Denmark and Sweden. Ireland is the third-highest when only 15 to 34-year-olds are counted.

1 – The number of countries that have a higher experience of using Ecstasy than Ireland. Only the UK’s population claims to have used it more. When only those aged between 15 and 34 are counted, Ireland falls to third behind the Netherlands.

9.4 per cent – The proportion of Ireland’s population aged between 15 and 34 who claim to have tried cocaine.

Want more? Check out our previous ‘In numbers’ pieces>

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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