Home > A study of cocaine use in Northern Ireland 2009.

McCrystal, Patrick and Mayock, Paula and Hannaford, Sarah (2011) A study of cocaine use in Northern Ireland 2009. Belfast: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.


This study explored the patterns of cocaine use and the lifestyles of users in Northern Ireland with the aim of providing the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and treatment service providers with a better understanding of cocaine use in Northern Ireland. This primarily qualitative study was conducted in two phases. In Phase I a ‘Community Assessment Process’ was conducted to gain an understanding of the experiences of drug treatment professionals to cocaine use in Northern Ireland. In phase II 40 in-depth interviews were conducted with cocaine users. The study identified two types of cocaine user, these are recreational or socially integrated
users and those referred for drug treatment who as a group was socially marginalized users. For the purposes of this study these users will be referred to as either recreational or treatment users. The demographic profiles of each type of user differed in a number of important respects. The recreational users were typically young, educated and anchored to a largely conventional lifestyle and whose pattern of non-work activities involved partying and drug use. Treatment users, on the other hand, generally had low level educational qualifications and were typically
unemployed and living on state benefits. A number of the treatment users were either living in a hostel at the time of interview or had experienced homelessness at some time in their life. None of the recreational users reported any experience of homelessness. These distinctions, as well as
differences between the groups in terms of their drug use patterns, preferences and practices, strongly suggest that in unravelling the nature of cocaine use and cocaine problems there is a need to look beyond the drug itself.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Place of Publication

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