Home > New information on polydrug use in Ireland.

Long, Jean (2009) New information on polydrug use in Ireland. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 30, Summer 2009 , pp. 12-13.

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The fifth bulletin of results from the 2006/7 all-Ireland general population drug prevalence survey1 (a follow-on from the first such survey in 2002/32) focuses on polydrug use in the adult population (15–64 years) and patterns of polydrug use. The final achieved sample was 4,967 in Ireland. This represents a response rate of 65%.  

For the purpose of Bulletin 5, polydrug use is defined as the use in the last month of two or more of the following substances: alcohol, tobacco, any illegal drug or any other legal drug (sedatives, tranquillisers or anti-depressants).
 
Just under one-fifth (19.6%) of the 4,967 survey respondents reported that they had not used any substance in the last month. Among those who had used drugs in the last month, the most common substance combinations were:
1.     26.5% had used alcohol and tobacco
2.     3.3% had used alcohol, sedatives or tranquillisers, and anti-depressants
3.     2.6% had used alcohol and at least one illegal drug
4.     2.4% had used tobacco and at least one illegal drug
5.     2.3% had used tobacco, sedatives or tranquillisers, and anti-depressants
6.     2.2% had used alcohol, tobacco and at least one illegal drug
7.     1.9% alcohol and sedatives or tranquillisers
8.     1.9% alcohol and anti-depressants
9.     1.6% had used alcohol, tobacco, sedatives or tranquillisers, and anti-depressants
10. 1.5% had used tobacco and anti-depressants
 
The combination of alcohol, tobacco and any illegal drug was more commonly reported by men (3.4%) than by women (0.9%). Thirty-one per cent of young adults (15–34 years) reported that they had used alcohol and tobacco, compared to 23% of older adults (35–64 years). The same relationship was observed among users of alcohol, tobacco and at least one illegal drug, with 3.8% of young adults and 0.8% of older adults reporting this combination.
 
The results of the polydrug use survey reflect substance use in recreational situations, rather than problematic substance use in socially deprived areas or among treated problem drug users.  (Jean Long)
 
1. National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Drug and Alcohol Information and Research Unit (2009) Drug use in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 2006/2007 drug prevalence survey: polydrug use results. Bulletin 5. Dublin: NACD.
2. National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Drug and Alcohol Information and Research Unit (2007) Drug use in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 2002/2003 drug prevalence survey: polydrug use results. Bulletin 5. Dublin: NACD.
Item Type:Article
Date:2009
Page Range:pp. 12-13
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 30, Summer 2009
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:R Research > Type of research study > Empirical study > Survey > General population survey
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Multiple substance use (Poly-drug /Poly-substance)
A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour

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