COCAINE use has increased across all age groups in the past year, according to a report launched today.
The National Drug and Alcohol Survey (NDAS) report for 2019-2020 from the Health Research Board found that cocaine use has increased across all age groups.
Men aged 25–34 were most likely to report cocaine use in the last year, rising from 2% in 2002-03 to 9% in 2019-20.
“While there has been little change since the last survey in the number of people using drugs overall, what is notable is the rise in the use of illegal stimulants, particularly cocaine and amphetamines, as well as an increase in the use of LSD and poppers,” said Dr Deirdre Mongan, research officer at the Health Research Board and lead author of the report.
“Also, people who use drugs are now more likely than before to use a wider range of drugs.
“By monitoring trends over time, the Health Research Board can provide solid evidence in relation to changing drug use patterns.
“This supports the development of targeted approaches to create awareness about the prevailing challenges of drug use, to help reduce harm and inform policy change in relation to drug use.”
The survey also found that more than nine out of ten people who used cocaine in the last year also using alcohol at the same time.
Some 85% of respondents who had ever used cocaine consumed alcohol on their first occasion of cocaine use.
The report also highlighted a reduction in tobacco smoking, as well as an increase in abstention from alcohol by young people.
“Smoking rates have now decreased by over 40% since 2002-03 when one-third of 15-64-year-olds smoked,” Dr Mongan said.
“There has also been an increase in the average age at which young people start to smoke.”
Dr Mongan also highlighted that there has been an increase in the number of people who do not drink, and the age at which young people have their first drink has also risen.
“This is an encouraging finding, as the younger a person starts drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcohol use disorder in adulthood,” she said.
“Of concern however is the high prevalence of alcohol use disorder among young people who do drink.”