Cannabis Is Favoured Illegal Drug In Ireland

All the ‘dope’ on illegal drug use across Ireland has been revealed today with the publication of the Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland: First results from the 2010/11 Drug Prevalence Survey. Cannabis is the most popular illegal drug according to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) Bulletin, published jointly with the National Advisory Committee on Drugs in Ireland after a survey carried out between October 2010 and May 2011. Among the key findings relating to drug prevalence in Northern Ireland in 2010/11 are that 27% of respondents aged 15-64 years reported taking any illegal drugs at some point in their life.

Cannabis was the most commonly reported illegal drug used, with 24% of all adults reported having ever used it; 5% of respondent reported using cannabis in the last year; and 3% of respondents reported using it in the last month. After cannabis, the most commonly used illegal drugs were: poppers and ecstasy (each 9%), cocaine powder (6%), amphetamines and magic mushrooms (each 6%), LSD (5%), and solvents (4%). Around one in three males (32%) and one in five females (22%) reported lifetime use of any illegal drug. Nearly two fifths of young adults (15-34 years) compared with one fifth (20%) of older adults (35-64 years) reported ever using any illegal drug.

Around one fifth of respondents reported having ever used sedatives and tranquillisers (21%) and anti-depressants (22%). Twenty-four percent of females compared with 17% of males had ever used sedatives and tranquillisers and 28% of females compared with 15% of males reported having ever used anti-depressants. Also, in Northern Ireland, lifetime use and last month use of any illegal drug among all adults remained fairly similar between 2006/07 and 2010/11. The last year use of any illegal drug decreased from 9% in 2006/07 to 7% in 2010/11. This decrease can partly be explained by the decrease in the last year use of cannabis from 7% in 2006/07 to 5% in 2010/11.

There was an increase in the last year and last month use of anti-depressants. The last year prevalence increased from 9% in 2006/07 to 12% in 2010/11 and the last month use increased from 8% in 2006/07 to 10% in 2010/11. The main focus of the survey was to obtain prevalence rates for illegal drugs, such as cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, on a lifetime (ever used), last year (recent use) and last month (current use) basis. Similar prevalence questions were also asked for alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (e.g. tranquillisers); attitudinal and demographic information was also sought from respondents.

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