Northern Ireland Reports 06/07 Drug Use Rates

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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: Sedatives or Tranquillisers, and Anti-Depressants 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 sedatives or tranquillisers, and anti-depressants prevalence in Northern Ireland in 2006/07 are:

* Prevalence rates were higher among older adults. The lifetime prevalence rate for older adults aged 35-64 (26%) was more than twice than that of young adults aged 15-34 (12%) for sedatives or tranquillisers and was also higher for those using anti-depressants (27% for older adults and 14% for young adults).

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* Females reported higher prevalence rates than males for lifetime and last month use of sedatives or tranquillisers, and across all time periods for anti-depressants.

* The average age respondents reported that they had first used sedatives or tranquillisers was 30 years for both males and females. The average age respondents reported they had first used anti-depressants was 34 years for males and 31 years for females.

* Approximately two-in-three (66%) current users of sedatives or tranquillisers, and nearly nine-in-ten (87%) current users of anti-depressants, took them daily or almost daily.

* The vast majority of current users got their sedatives or tranquillisers (95%), and anti-depressants (96%), on prescription.

* Respondents who were separated, divorced or widowed reported higher lifetime prevalence rates for sedatives or tranquillisers, and anti-depressants.

* Associations were found between various indicators of deprivation and prevalence rates for sedatives or tranquillisers, and anti-depressants across all three time periods. Prevalence rates were higher among those in the lower socio-economic classifications, those not in paid work and those with low education attainment or no qualifications.

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