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National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol

The NACDA was established in response to the drug problem to assist in our continued need to improve our knowledge and understanding of problem drug use.

The goal of the NACDA is to advise the Government on problem drug use in Ireland in relation to prevalence, prevention consequences and treatment based on our analysis and interpretation of research findings.

Narrowing of regional differences in the use of illegal drugs

The National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) today, 19th June 2012, presents the second bulletin from a series of seven arising from the data collected in the third drug prevalence survey Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland 2010/11. This bulletin, (Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland Drug Prevalence Survey 2010/11: Regional Drug Task Force (Ireland) and Health and Social Services Trust (Northern Ireland) Results) provides a breakdown of prevalence rates by region for use of illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sedatives, tranquillisers and anti-depressants.

The survey is a joint undertaking with the Public Health Information and Research Branch within the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) in Northern Ireland. Fieldwork was carried out between October 2010 and May 2011 and the final sample comprised 7,669 respondents (5,134 in Ireland and 2,535 in Northern Ireland).

Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care and Drugs Strategy, Róisín Shortall said today “I welcome the finding in this Regional Report that the use of illegal drugs has stabilised in many regions since the last NACD survey in 2006 and in particular the decline in many regions along the east coast of the country. However there is no room for complacency and we must continue to rigorously tackle problem drug use across Ireland.”

Findings of the bulletin include:

  • There are differences in illegal drug use between the regions in Ireland, with last year prevalence highest in South West Regional Drugs Taskforce (Kildare/West Wicklow and South West Dublin) and Northern Regional Drugs Taskforce (RDTF) areas (North Dublin) and lowest in the North West RDTF area,
  • The differences between regions have become smaller compared with results from the 2006/7 survey. Drug use in regions of high prevalence has declined while drug use in regions of low prevalence has stabilised or increased slightly. As a result drug use is not as concentrated in the regions along the east coast as was the case in 2006,
  • Cannabis continues to be the most commonly used illegal drug in all regions in Ireland, followed by psychoactive substances and cocaine,
  • The profile of illegal drug users is similar across all regions in Ireland: with, in general, men more likely than women, and young adults more likely than older adults to use any illegal drugs,
  • There is no evidence of a narrowing of the gap between men and women’s use of illegal drugs in any of the regional drug task force areas,
  • Of the licit substances surveyed, alcohol continues to be the most commonly used in all regions. Since earlier surveys the regional pattern of alcohol consumption has converged over time,
  • The report finds regional differences in the use of prescription/over-the counter medicines. Recent use of other opiates is highest in the Western and Southern areas and lowest in the North Western regional drug task force area. Recent use of sedatives and/or tranquillisers and recent use of anti-depressants is highest in the North East and lowest in the North West areas,
  • Consumption of alcohol and tobacco are higher among younger adults in many regions in Ireland,
  • While men are more likely to consume illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, in all regions women are more likely to consume prescription/over-the-counter medicines.
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