The latest European Drug Report has highlighted a worrying trend in drug use among young adults in Ireland.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) report looks at trends in drugs use, supply, prevention, enforcement and healthcare solutions across Europe. Its main conclusion is that drug availability in Europe is high and, in some areas, appears to be increasing. In 2016, over 1 million seizures of illicit drugs were reported across the European Union. Cannabis is the most commonly seized drug in Europe, accounting for over 70% of the total number of confiscations.
European Drug Report 2018: Trends and Developments finds that young adults (aged 15–34) in Ireland are taking significantly more MDMA and cannabis in recent years than they used to. In 2015, just under 14% reported using cannabis in the last year, compared to about 10% in 2007. Meanwhile, a total of 4.4% of young adults reported using MDMA (also known as ecstasy) in the last year, compared to 2.6% in 2007.
When compared against 30 other European countries, Ireland ranks second for the rate of use of MDMA (behind the Netherlands). It also has the second highest rate of opioids use per population (behind the UK). Ireland has around 19,000 high-risk opioid users.
In 2015, the drug-induced mortality rate in Ireland was 70 deaths per million: over three times the European average and one of the highest on the continent. Last year, its new integrated drug strategy was launched. ‘Reducing harm, supporting recovery: a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017–2025′ aims to focus on health rather than justice as a means of lowering drug use and harm. A public consultation has also been launched looking into whether drugs should be decriminalised.
In 2016, there were 16,119 drug offences committed in Ireland. A total of 11,486 of these related to possession while 3982 had to do with supply.
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