The age profile in regions outside Dublin is also much younger, with one in six users in the South and South East aged 15-24, compared to less than 4% in Dublin.
Research shows that the national estimate of opiate users rose by 9% between 2011 and 2014, from almost 17,400 to nearly 19,000 people.
A study commissioned by the State’s drug research body found that Ballymun in north Dublin had by far the highest rate of problematic opiate users — six times the national average — and the North-West the lowest.
The research, conducted for the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol, reports a 40% increase (to more than 11,200) in users aged 35-64.
The report estimates there were 18,988 opiate (mainly heroin) users in 2014 (in a range of 18,720–21,454), based on four different datasets.
The number of users corresponded to 6.18 per thousand of the population aged between 15 and 64.
Source: Cormac O'Keeffe, The Irish Examiner, 30/12/17