Skip Navigation

Research on drug provalence in regional drugs task force areas launched by NACD

The information contained in Bulletin 2, Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland 2006/2007: Drug Prevalence Survey: Regional Drugs Task Force (Ireland) & Health and Social Services Board (Northern Ireland) Results, provides a regional breakdown of prevalence rates for use of all illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sedatives and tranquillisers, anti-depressants and anabolic steroids.

This Bulletin is from the second Household Drugs Prevalence Survey, following a similar piece of research commissioned in 2002/3 by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) in Ireland and the Public Health Information and Research Branch (PHIRB) of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the release of the regional figures, Minister Curran welcomed the Bulletin, stating that the survey provided the Government with very valuable information on drug prevalence throughout the country, and also highlighted the changes that had occurred since the first such survey in 2002/3.

“The report highlights significant increases in lifetime use of illegal drugs among all adults aged 15-64 in the East Coast, the Midland and the Western RDTF areas. However, decreases in the lifetime use of amphetamines and LSD in the South Western RDTF and in lifetime use of alcohol in the Southern RDTF shows promise.

“This survey confirms that illegal drug use is a nationwide problem and highlights the need for a sustained commitment to tackle the problem in the years ahead,” Minister Curran said, and added that “the data will be very useful in the context of the review of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008 which is currently underway and in the preparation of a new drugs strategy for the period 2009-2016.”

Presenting the findings NACD, Director, Mairéad Lyons stated that:

Lifetime use of any illegal drugs varied across RDTF areas ranging from 38% in the East Coast RDTF to as low as 14% in the North Western RDTF.
Cannabis was the most commonly used illegal drug in all RDTF areas across all time periods.
Prevalence rates for all other illegal drugs were considerably lower than the rates for cannabis use in all RDTF areas.
In RDTF areas cocaine ranks, on average, the 4th most commonly used drug after cannabis (1st), magic mushrooms (2nd) and ecstasy (3rd) for lifetime use.
Last year use of cocaine on average ranks second after cannabis and followed by ecstasy (3rd) and magic mushrooms (4th).
The profile of illegal drug users was similar areas across RDTFs: more men than women and more young adults than older adults use illegal drugs.
Prevalence tended to be higher in the Eastern and Southern region of the country from Louth to Cork.
As one would expect, increases in lifetime use were observed since the previous survey in 2002/3 across a range of illegal drugs among all adults aged 15-64 including:

Lifetime use of cocaine increased significantly in 5 RDTF areas.
Lifetime use of magic mushrooms increased significantly in 3 RDTF areas.
Increases since 2002/3 (statistically significant)

Western RDTF, lifetime use of any illegal drug use: from 12.5% in 2002/3 to 23.3% in 2006/7.
Western RDTF lifetime use of cannabis from 12.0% 2002/3 to 21.0% in 2006/7.
Increases since 2002/3 (statistically significant)

East Coast RDTF, last year use of any illegal drug use: from 6.3% in 2002/3 to 12.4% in 2006/7.
East Coast RDTF, last year use of cannabis use: from 6.1% in 2002/3 to 11.3% in 2006/7.
Statistically significant decreases since 2002/3 were observed in some areas:

Lifetime use of amphetamines, LSD and tobacco in the South Western RDTF area.
Lifetime use of alcohol in the Southern RDTF area. This RDTF also had a decrease in last month use of alcohol among women.
Further analysis of the data is ongoing and forthcoming bulletins on cannabis and cocaine will provide detail in relation to age of first use, socio economic and educational background together with analysis of attitudes to drug use.

Commenting on the findings NACD Chairperson, Dr. Des Corrigan noted that the Western, South Eastern, Mid Western and North Western show higher prevalence for lifetime and last year use of anti-depressants.

“When the data is mapped, the figures indicate that highly populated areas have, in general, higher prevalence rates of illegal drug use. Conversely, less densely populated areas have higher prevalence rates for sedatives and tranquillisers as well as for anti-depressants.

These findings indicate that a closer examination of the issue of poly drug use including alcohol, sedatives, tranquillisers and anti-depressants is needed to understand the underlying cultural issues that exist in some regions."

He noted that the high levels of alcohol use reported in the Bulletin as well as the above average levels of use of some illicit drugs in young males in particular highlight the challenges Irish society faces in the prevention and treatment of poly drug use in the years ahead.

Dr. Corrigan added that continued use of this type of survey is essential in picking up trends over time.

“Population surveys, which give a snapshot in time of what is happening in relation to drug use in the lives of ordinary households, can only realistically be conducted every four years or so and should be continued into the future.”

Download full report

Posted by Administrator on 06/26 at 12:00 AM in
Share this:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn
  • E-mail
(0) Comments






Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Enter this word:


The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
Poll Poll

Have you ever been impacted negatively by someone else's drug taking?