Home > National Drug Treatment Reporting System: 2022 drug treatment demand.

O'Neill, Derek, Lyons, Suzi ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4635-6673 and Carew, Anne Marie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8026-7228 (2023) National Drug Treatment Reporting System: 2022 drug treatment demand. Dublin: Health Research Board. HRB StatLink Series 12.

PDF (National drug treatment reporting system, 2022 drug treatment demand.) - Published Version
PDF (Infographics) - Supplemental Material

In 2022, 12,009 cases were treated for problem drug use. This is the highest annual number recorded by the NDTRS to date.

• The proportion of new cases (never treated before) was 37.1%.
• The majority of cases were treated in outpatient facilities (68.9%).

Main problem drug (excluding alcohol)
• Cocaine was the most common drug reported in 2022, accounting for 34.0% of all cases, a 25.7% increase from 2021. Cocaine was also the most common main drug among new cases in 2022, similar to the previous two years. Trends over time for cocaine are presented in more detail on page 25.
• Opioids (mainly heroin) were the second most common main problem drug reported.
— Heroin accounted for 86.6% of all opioid cases in 2022.
• Cannabis was the third most common main drug reported.
• The type of drug for which treatment was sought varied by age.
— Among young cases aged 19 years or younger, cannabis was the main drug generating treatment demand.
— Among those aged 20-34 years, cocaine was the main drug generating treatment demand.
— Opioids were the main drug generating treatment demand among those aged 35 years or older.

Polydrug use
• Polydrug use was reported by over half of cases (56.8%).
• Cannabis (40.3%) was the most common additional drug, followed by alcohol (36.2%),
cocaine (36.1%) and benzodiazepines (32.2%).

Risk behaviour
• One-in-five cases reported that they had ever injected (20.8%).
• Among cases who had injected, 42.7% had shared needles and syringes.
— Among new cases, the proportion that reported ever injecting decreased over the period from 13.5% in 2016 to 4.4% in 2022.

Socio-demographic characteristics
• The median age of cases was 33 years.
• Seven-in-ten (71.9%) cases were male.
• One-in-seven (13.9%) cases were recorded as homeless.
• The proportion of cases with an Irish Traveller ethnicity was 3.0%.
• Almost three-in-five (59.1%) cases were recorded as unemployed.
• One-in-five (22.0%) cases were in paid employment.
• Of those with children aged 17 years or younger, two-in-five (39.6%) cases treated for problem drug use were residing with children.

Cocaine characteristics
• Socio-demographic characteristics varied by the type of cocaine used.
— For cases with powder cocaine as the main problem, 21% were female, 41% were employed, the median age was 30 years.
— For cases with crack cocaine as the main problem, 42% were male, 6% were employed, the median age was 39 years.

Key trends over time (2016–2022)
• The proportion of treatment demand attributable to opioids has decreased year-on-year (from 47.0% in 2016 to 33.1% in 2022).
• Over the period 2016 to 2022, there was a 258.9% increase in the number of cases where cocaine was the main problem drug.
• Over the seven-year period there was a 15.8% decrease in the number of cases reporting that they had ever injected.

Repository Staff Only: item control page