Ireland Reports Drug Use Stats

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The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety today published a Statistical Bulletin presenting key findings from the second Drug Prevalence Survey. The bulletin, 'Drug Prevalence Survey: Cocaine Results' was published jointly with the National Advisory Committee on Drugs in Ireland. It relates to a survey carried out jointly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between October 2006 and May 2007.

Key Findings:

The key findings relating to cocaine prevalence in Northern Ireland in 2006/07 are:

* Cocaine powder accounted for the majority of cocaine use. Crack cocaine use was very limited.

* Prevalence rates for cocaine powder and/or crack combined were higher among younger respondents - the lifetime prevalence rate for those aged 15-34 (9%) was approximately four times that for those aged 35-64 (2%).

* Male respondents reported higher prevalence rates for cocaine and/or crack combined than females across all time periods. The lifetime prevalence figure for males was 7% compared to 3% for females.

* The average age that respondents reported that they had first used cocaine powder was 22. The average age of first regular use was 23.

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* Almost three quarters of recent users of cocaine powder had obtained it from someone known to them. Two fifths (40%) had been given cocaine powder by family or friends, just over one fifth (21%) said it had been shared amongst friends while 13% had bought it from a friend.

* Over half (56%) of recent users reported that cocaine powder was either 'fairly easy' or 'very easy' to obtain, while 30% said it was 'fairly difficult' or 'very difficult' to obtain.

* Of respondents who stated that they had ever taken cocaine powder, 8% said that they had used it regularly. All of these respondents who had used cocaine powder regularly said that they had stopped taking it.

* The vast majority (85%) of respondents who had never used cocaine powder or crack felt that there was a 'great risk' associated with trying these drugs once or twice. Whereas almost half (45%) of those who had used cocaine powder or crack felt that there was a 'great risk' associated with trying these drugs once or twice.

Northern Ireland comparisons between 2002/03 and 2006/07:

* The lifetime use of cocaine powder and/or crack (cocaine total) increased among all adults aged 15-64 from 1.6% in 2002/3 to 5.2% in 2006/7.

* Increases since the previous survey in the lifetime use of any form of cocaine were also found among males (from 2.8% to 7.4%), females (from 0.5% to 2.9%), young adults aged 15-34 years (from 2.9% to 9.1%) and older adults aged 35-64 years (from 0.6% to 2.3%),

* Last year use of any form of cocaine increased since 2002/3 among all adults aged 15-64 (from 0.5% to 1.9%), males (from 1.0% to 2.8%), females (from 0.1% to 0.9%), young adults aged 15-34 years (from 1.0% to 3.5%) and older adults aged 35-64 years (from 0.1% to 0.7%).

* There were no significant increases in last month use of cocaine powder and/or crack among any of the groups of respondents.

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