The number of people treated in hospital for drug or alcohol addiction disorders increased by nearly 10% last year.
According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, 543 people had one of these illnesses as a main diagnosis when they were discharged from an Irish hospital in 2018, compared to 498 the year before. The figures relate to inpatient or day cases, so do not include emergency department admissions.
More than 1,000 people had inpatient stays in 2017 or 2018.
Some 438 of the admissions were for alcohol dependence syndrome, up 19%.
GP Hugh O'Donnell of the Irish Medical Organisation, said there needs to be more awareness of the dangers of illicit substances.
"Education is the way to go. You need to get youngsters entering secondary school and teach them about what alcohol means...how it affects the liver and other body systems," he said.
Of the 543 people treated last year, 351 were men and 192 were women.