A Health Research Board (HRB) report into drug treatment demand has found that 12,009 people were treated for problem drug use in 2022, with 40% never having been treated before.
Cocaine was the most common drug reported, accounting for one in three cases. This was followed by opioids, mainly heroin. Cannabis was the third most common drug reported, followed by benzodiazepines.
Dr Anne Marie Carew, Research Officer at the HRB, said; “There has been a considerable rise in the number seeking treatment for cocaine use in recent years. This is the result of the rise in use of cocaine as well as an increase in the provision of specific services to treat cocaine use.”
The drug for which there was demand for treatment however, varied according to age group:
Additional findings in relation to cases presenting for drug treatment reported by the HRB include:
Over the seven-year period from 2016 to 2022, the proportion of treatment demand attributable to opioids has decreased year-on-year. This went from almost five in ten cases in 2016 to three in ten in 2022. Also, the proportion of cases that were in paid employment doubled from one in ten in 2016 to two in ten in 2022. From 2016 to 2022, there was a 259% increase in the number of cases where cocaine was the main problem drug.