The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has published key facts on drug prevalence in Northern Ireland.
The fact sheet presents some of the key findings from the Drug Prevalence Survey 2014/15. It includes analyses of the main types of illegal and prescription drug use over the last month, last year and lifetime of respondents. Information is also provided on new psychoactive substances (NPSs), polydrug use, alcohol use as well as both drug and alcohol related harm.
The Drug Prevalence Survey records drug use across three prevalence periods, over the last month, over the last year and throughout the respondents’ lifetime.
- More than a quarter of respondents (27.3%) had used illegal drugs at some point during their lifetime, while 5.9% had used them over the last year and 2.9% in the month prior to the survey.
- Cannabis was the main drug of misuse in all three prevalence periods.
- Around a fifth of respondents had ever taken sedatives or tranquillisers while around a quarter of respondents had ever taken anti-depressants.
- Over a fifth of respondents (22.2%) had ever taken other opiates (For example; codeine, morphine and Tramadol).
- Males (6%) were three times as likely as females (2%) to have ever taken NPSs. Younger respondents (aged 15-34) (7%) were over three times as likely to have ever used NPSs than older respondents (aged 35-64) (2%).
- Over half of those who used other opiates also used sedatives and tranquillisers, while three-fifths of those who used other opiates also used anti-depressants.
- Over three-fifths of respondents (61.8%) drank alcohol in the last month, and a fifth of adults thought that they should cut down on their drinking.
- The proportion of respondents that had family or relationship problems as a result of alcohol (13%) was more than double that for drugs (5%).
- The proportion of adults with children that felt that taking drugs affected their ability to interact with children was 5.5%.
Notes to editors:
- The 2014/15 Drug Prevalence Survey in Northern Ireland and Ireland was commissioned jointly by the Public Health Information and Research Branch within the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety and the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol in Ireland. This publication is available online
- Joint bulletins with the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) in Republic of Ireland are planned for publication.
- This survey has previously been conducted in 2002/03, 2006/07 and 2010/11.
- The questionnaire and methodology for this general population survey were based on best practice guidelines drawn up by the EMCDDA. The questionnaires were administered through face-to-face interviews (with Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI)) with respondents aged between 15 and 64 years and who are normally resident in households in Northern Ireland. Therefore persons outside these age ranges, or who do not normally live in private households, have not been included in the survey (for example prisons, nursing homes etc).
- Fieldwork for the survey was carried out between October 2014 and May 2015 and the final achieved sample was 2,511. The response rate for the survey was 68%.
- In Northern Ireland, the achieved sample was weighted by gender, age and Health and Social Care Trust area to maximise its representativeness of the population.
- Further information on drug prevalence in Northern Ireland is available from Public Health Information and Research Branch
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