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Long, Jean (2005) EMCDDA annual report 2004. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 13, Spring 2005 , p. 3.

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The latest facts and figures on drug use across Europe, by country, were released by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) on 25 November 2004 in their Annual Report 2004.1 The report includes information on the situation in Ireland provided by the Drug Misuse Research Division (DMRD) of the Health Research Board, which is thenational focal point for the EMCDDA1.

Key topics addressed, and comparisons made, relate to population andtreated drug use figures (opiates, cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy), as well as complications and consequences (such as polydrug use, psychiatric illness, blood-borne viruses, drug-related deaths). In addition, there is a special focus on drug policy.

It is important to stress that the EMCDDA Annual Report 2004 is based on information provided by appointed focal points throughout the EU in 2003. It relates mainly to the drug situation in Europe in 2002 or earlier.

The following points summarise the current situation in Ireland:

  • Ireland’s national drugs strategy is considered very comprehensive when compared to those of other EU countries.
  • Irelandis close to the middle of the ‘EU range’ in relation to cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy use among the population.
  • The prevalence of opiate use among the adult population (15–64 years) was 5.6 per 1,000 in 2001. This rate reflects a mid-point of the range (2–10 cases per 1,000) for all European countries.
  • As in other EU countries, new cases of treated opiate use decreased by 12 per cent in Ireland, though numbers continue to rise in counties outside Dublin.
  • Numbers seeking treatment for cannabis and cocaine use have increased in Ireland and these trends are similar to those in other EU countries.
  • Polydrug use is common among treated drug users in Ireland, a trend apparent in other EU countries. During 2002, 76 per cent of treated drug users in Ireland reported problem use of two or more drugs, 44 per cent reported problem use of three or more drugs and 19 per cent reported problem use of four or more drugs.
  • The incidence of HIV has not fallen in Ireland as it has in some other countries in Europe, but it has stabilised.In Ireland, hepatitis C is a more pressing problem in relation to blood-borne viruses among injecting drug users.Between 1992 and 1998, an Irish research study estimated that the incidence (new cases) of hepatitis C among injecting drug users was 66 per 100 person years; this is 30 per cent higher than estimates reported in other EU countries.
  • As in other European countries, the total number of drug-related deaths in Ireland decreased in 2001, though numbers continue to rise in counties outside Dublin.
  • A number of small-scale research studies in Ireland indicated that cannabis use is associated with psychiatric illnesses, in particular, schizophrenia, psychosis and depression, while opiate and sedative use is associated with (possible self-medication for) depression. On the other hand some studies have shown that cannabis can induce psychotic symptoms.There is no published national policy or strategy in place to deal with individuals who have both drug addiction and psychiatric illness.

1. EMCDDA (2004) Annual Report 2004: the state of the drugs problem in the European Union and Norway. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 13, Spring 2005
Date:January 2005
Page Range:p. 3
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 13, Spring 2005
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe

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