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Home > Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism Community, Rural and Gaeltachtt Affairs. National Drugs Strategy: Presentation

[Oireachtas] Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism Community, Rural and Gaeltachtt Affairs. National Drugs Strategy: Presentation. (09 Nov 2005)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/TOJ/2005/11/09/

Chairman: I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Noel Ahern, and his officials to the meeting to respond to our report on cocaine and to speak on the national drugs strategy. While in private session, the committee discussed drug use and the launch of a European report on this issue so it is well-informed. I call the Minister of State.

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Ahern): I thank the Chairman for inviting us to come before the committee to discuss its report, which was launched prior to the summer. At that time, I said I would be pleased to have additional information on cocaine use provided through the work of the committee. This report adds to the existing knowledge base on the use of illegal drugs in Ireland. The committee has rightly focused on cocaine, which has increased in availability and use in recent years. This increase mirrors cocaine trends generally in Europe, arising from increased production, particularly in Colombia, and a consequential drop in the street price. The NACD drug prevalence survey is generally regarded as providing the most reliable baseline data on drug use in Ireland. That study, which surveyed 8,442 people aged 15 to 64 in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland between October 2002 and April 2003, reported that 3% of the population had used cocaine at some stage in their lives, 1.1 % had used it in the previous 12 months and 0.3% used in the previous month. Lifetime use, use within the past year and use within the past month are the three standard questions in any drug survey. Compared with similar population surveys undertaken in other European countries, these figures suggest that cocaine usage in Ireland is roughly in line with the European average.

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