The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety today published the Statistics from the Northern Ireland Drug Misuse Database: 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2014.
The statistical bulletin provides information on individuals presenting to treatment services with problem drug misuse that is collected through the Northern Ireland Drug Misuse Database (DMD), which was established in April 2000.
In Northern Ireland during 2014/15:
- In Northern Ireland in 2014/15, a total of 2,262 clients presented to services for problem drug misuse and gave their consent for their details to be included in the DMD. This was 12% lower than in 2013/14 (2,574 clients).
- Four-fifths of clients (80%) were male. Male clients were younger than female clients. For males, 32% were aged 18-25 and 17% were aged over 40 years old. For females, 23% were aged 18-25 and 32% were aged over 40 years old.
- Two-fifths of those presenting for treatment (40%) took just one drug, while a fifth (21%) took two drugs, 16% took three drugs and 23% took four or more drugs.
- Four-fifths of all clients (79%) used at least one hypnotic drug, with 56% of all clients using a hypnotic drug as their main drug of misuse.
- Almost half of all clients (49%) used at least one stimulant drug, with it being the main drug for a fifth of all clients (19%).
- Almost a third of all clients (32%) used at least one opioid analgesic drug, with 22% of all clients using one as their main drug of misuse.
- Considering all drugs used by clients, the most commonly reported drug was Cannabis (used by 65% of clients) followed by Benzodiazepines (used by 36% of clients) and Cocaine (used by 34% of clients).
- Cannabis was used by 42% of clients as the main drug of misuse in 2014/15, up from 39% in 2013/14.
- Almost a third of those presenting for treatment (31%) had previously received treatment for their drug misuse.
- The proportion of clients that had ever injected drugs during their lifetime stood at 11% in 2014/15. Injecting was notably higher in the Northern Trust (28% of clients) compared with the other Trust areas (9-11%).
- Between 2004/05 and 2014/15, use of Cocaine among clients rose from 21% to 34%, while use of Ecstasy (27% to 13%) and Heroin (16% to 11%) both fell.
Notes to editors:
- The Bulletin is published on the Departmental website
- This information was collated by the Public Health Information and Research Branch (PHIRB) in the DHSSPS.
- A problem drug user is defined as a person who experiences social, psychological, physical or legal problems (related to intoxication and/or regular excessive consumption and/or dependence) as a consequence of their own use of drugs or chemical substances.
- Drugs are defined as any drug, whether prescribed or not, including solvents and tranquillisers but excluding alcohol and tobacco.
- The bulletin presents information on the profile of service users; drugs misused by those that presented for treatment; individuals’ previous history of treatment; injecting and sharing by drug users; and previous history of testing for viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis.
- Participation in the DMD requires clients to give consent to their data being included. Information relating to 2,341 individuals that presented to drug misuse treatment services in 2014/15 was received: in 2,262 cases (97%), individual consent was given for including data within the DMD. Analyses are based on these 2,262 individuals. In the previous year (2013/14), information relating to 2,710 individuals that presented to drug misuse treatment services was received: 2,574 (95%) of these gave consent for their data to be held on the DMD.
- Further information is available from Public Health Information and Research Branch
- Media queries to DHSSPS Press Office on 02890 520074, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
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