The number of people found driving after taking cocaine has almost trebled in the last two years.
As reported in the Irish Examiner, figures published by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety show that close to nine out of ten of the offenders are male.
Bureau director Professor Denis A Cusack said that despite the 70 per cent reduction in traffic due to the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, there was an increase of 23 per cent in the number of blood and urine samples received by the bureau.
It was also revealed that half of the drivers whose blood was examined for alcohol were three times over the legal limit for experienced drivers.
Drug toxicology analysis, which tests for the presence of cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines, opiates, and amphetamines increased by 39 per cent in 2020.
Speaking about the new data, Labour Party’s spokesperson on transport, Duncan Smith, said: “The increase in alcohol and drug detection is a real cause for worry, in particular the increase in the number of higher-level intoxicants.”
He also commented on the notable increase in the detection of cocaine was another worry.
“The impacts of this particular drug on people feeling arrogant and so-called 'bulletproof' is frightening when considering these people are behind the wheel of a car.”
According to Deputy Smith, the dominance of males in the latest figures was something that struck him.
“The thing that stands out and must be noted is that to a huge degree, the majority of offenders are male, with 87 per cent of specimens taken compared to 13 per cent for women.
“Taken together we have an increasing problem of drink and drug driving, the responsibility of which is being driven by men.”