REVEALED: People seeking treatment for cocaine use doubles in one year
There has been a 50% rise in the number of people in Ireland seeking treatment for cocaine use in the past year.
The unprecedented rise has been revealed in figures just released by the Health Research Board (HRB), who says the economic recovery is the driving factor behind the surge in drug use.
People seeking treatment for other drugs, such as heroin and cannabis, increased by just 8% during the same period.
The problem is at its worst in Dublin and its surrounding areas, where health services have seen the largest rise in people presenting for treatment.
Dr Darrin Morrissey, CEO of the HRB, said the number of cocaine users presenting themselves for treatment for the first time exceeds the number of first-time heroin cases.
“It represents the majority of the increase in all treatment cases,” Dr Morrissey said of the cocaine treatment cases.
“HRB figures show a consistent rise in treatment for cocaine since 2013, with the biggest increases in 2017 and 2018.”
Dr Morrissey said there is an upsurge in recreational drug-taking, which is a major factor in the “changing pattern of drug use during the recent economic recovery.”
The report reveals there were 10,274 drug treatment cases last year, a 15% increase on 2017 figures. Heroin accounted for 4,349 of the cases, cannabis 2,358, and cocaine 2,254.
The HRB report shows a 28% increase in people seeking drug treatment since 2012, with the largest increase presenting for cocaine use.
In 2018, over 30% of first-time drug treatment cases were for cocaine use.
Last week, KilkennyNow.ie revealed that drug-related crime in Kilkenny has increased by close to 50% in just four years.