Home > Report from Blanchardstown’s drugs and alcohol trends monitoring system.

Dillon, Lucy (2017) Report from Blanchardstown’s drugs and alcohol trends monitoring system. Drugnet ireland , Issue 63, Autumn 2017 , pp. 19-20.

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On 18 May 2017, Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force (BLDATF) launched its report Drug and alcohol trends monitoring system (DATMS) 2017: Year 2.1 BLADTF started the DATMS in 2015 to ensure they had a ‘thorough, comprehensive and deep knowledge of the problems of the [Dublin 15] area’ (p. 3) upon which to base decisions about service provision. This is the second annual report from the system.2,3 The system was designed to identify trends in patterns of drug use, and the authors caution that this requires three years of data. Therefore, any changes identified in the current report will require further investigation in the next rounds of data collection.

 

Methodology

The DATMS uses a mixed-method design, drawing on both primary and secondary data sources. Primary data sources included drug treatment data and data on at-risk under 18–year-olds. Data collection included interviews with treatment service users and outreach workers administered questionnaires in the local community. The team also collected extensive data on drug litter in the area, focusing on its visibility, locations for drug use, and types of drugs used and methods of administration. The data have been visually represented on a map of Dublin 15 that accompanies the published report.

 

Key findings

Below are the key findings from the report as they appear in its Executive Summary.

 

Treated drug use

  • Treated drug use in Dublin 15 is increasing.
  • The number of drug users aged under 18 years and aged 35 years and over in treatment is increasing.
  • The number of Irish and non-Irish drug users in treatment is increasing.
  • The number of Irish Traveller drug users in treatment is decreasing.
  • Cannabis, alcohol, cocaine powder, and benzodiazepines/Z-drugs are the biggest problem for drug users aged under 18 years; the use of these drugs is increasing among this age group.
  • Heroin, cannabis, alcohol, cocaine powder, benzodiazepines/Z-drugs, and methadone are the biggest problem for adult drug users.
  • Heroin users are getting older, with few young people treated for this drug.
  • The use of the following drugs is increasing among adult drug users: alcohol, cannabis, benzodiazepines/Z-drugs, powder and crack cocaine, Lyrica, and oxycodone.
  • Polydrug use is the norm for the majority of treated drug users.
  • Steroids and skin-tanning drugs are creating new hazards in Dublin 15. 

Untreated drug use

  • Alcohol, cannabis, MDMA, cocaine powder, and ketamine are the main drugs of use for untreated under 18-year-olds and adult drug users.
  • Cocaine powder use is increasing among untreated under 18-year-olds and adult drug users.
  • Cannabis resin use is increasing among Irish Traveller untreated drug users.
  • Polydrug use is the norm for untreated under 18-year-olds and adult drug users; alcohol is an integral part of polydrug use.
  • Drugs are mostly used at the weekend and the frequency of use is age dependent, with adults reporting more regular use. 

Factors contributing to drug use

  • Drugs and alcohol are easily accessed in Dublin 15.
  • Alcohol, benzodiazepines/Z-drugs, cannabis resin, Lyrica, and oxycodone are increasing in availability.
  • The internet continues to facilitate drug distribution and the darknet is a factor in availability.
  • Drug use is normalised among some peer, family and work groups.
  • A common perception is that drugs are widely used and risk free.
  • The family context:

– Children’s education is being compromised by parental drug use.

– Some drug use in Dublin 15 is intergenerational.

 

Consequences of drug and alcohol use

Mental health:

– Mental health disorders among treated adult drug users are increasing.

– Mental health disorders among under 18-year-olds in Dublin 15 are increasing.

Drug-related crime:

– Drug dealers are getting younger and dealing occurs in schools.

– Drug debt intimidation continues to be an issue for young people and adults.

Social consequences:

– Homelessness and poverty are increasing among drug users.

– Drug use in schools is increasing and causing greater damage to education and leading to more exclusion.

– Due to these social consequences rehabilitation is getting harder. 

 

Drug litter

  • Drug litter is widespread throughout Dublin 15.
  • The largest concentrations of drug litter are outside areas traditionally associated with drug use, indicating many more drug users than are using services.
  • Most drug litter relates to untreated drug use.
  • Drugs are being used in hidden and inaccessible sites, increasing the hazards associated with drug use; many hidden sites are well developed and regularly used. 

Gaps in service provision identified by research participants

  • Access to mental health services is not improving, especially for young people.
  • The prescribing of addictive medication requires regulation.
  • Ex-service users working in the area are struggling without adequate supervision.
  • There is limited access to buprenorphine treatment for opiate dependence in Dublin 15.
  • There is a lack of access to educational psychological assessments for children from preschool age to secondary school age. This issue particularly affects people from disadvantaged backgrounds with no resources to fund private assessments.
  • A number of service providers reported a lack of awareness about addiction services in Dublin 15. 

1 Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force (2017) Drug and alcohol trends monitoring system (DATMS) 2017: Year 2. Dublin: Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/27339/

2 Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force (2016) Drug and alcohol trends monitoring system (DATMS) 2016. Dublin: Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/25281/

3 McGuire V (2016) Drug and alcohol trends in Blanchardstown. Drugnet Ireland, 58: 14. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/25963/

Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 63, Autumn 2017
Date:November 2017
Page Range:pp. 19-20
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 63, Autumn 2017
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health services, substance use research
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Dublin

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