Cocaine was the only drug where treatment figures increased last year – against an overall reduction in total treatment cases.
New statistics show the continued surge in cocaine treatment in recent years, with a three-fold rise in the number of cases since 2014.
For the first time, cocaine overtook cannabis as the most common drug among new cases receiving treatment.
Health Research Board figures also show an almost five-fold rise in crack cocaine cases since 2014.
The National Drug Treatment Reporting System shows a 9% drop in overall treatment cases, from 10,664 in 2019 to 9,702 in 2020, due to temporary closure of services linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But despite this, the number of cocaine cases actually increased, rising from 2,560 in 2019 to 2,619 in 2020.
Other cocaine figures show:
- Cocaine cases have trebled, from 853 cases in 2014 to 2,619 last year;
- While men continue to account for the bulk of cases, the proportion of women reporting cocaine use has increased from 17% of cases in 2014 to 21% of cases in 2020;
- Among those entering treatment for the first time (new cases), cocaine was the most common drug in 2020, with 1,359 cases, surpassing cannabis (1,338)
In relation to crack cocaine, the report shows:
- Crack cases increased almost five-fold, from 84 cases in 2014 to 414 cases in 2020;
- The number of women reporting problem use of crack cocaine has increased by almost 80% since 2018
Source: Cormac O'Keeffe, The Irish Examiner, 20/07/21