More than one in four people have taken an illegal drug

There's been a slight rise in the number of people taking illegal drugs in Ireland.

A new report from the Department of Health shows illegal drug use went up by 1.9% between 2010 and 2015.

Cannabis continues to be the most commonly used drug, with lifetime usage of 24% and usage in the last year of 6.5%. Of those who took cannabis last year, 24.3% admit to being cannabis dependent.

Two-thirds of people asked in the survey don't agree with the recreational use of cannabis (66.4%, down from 69.2% in 2010/11), but three-quarters think it should be allowed for medical reasons (74.5%, up from 65.8% in 2010/11).

The report also found more than one in four people (26.4%) over the age of 15 has taken an illegal drug in their lifetime, with 7.5% using an illegal drug in the past 12 months.

The government say the figures show there's still a need for measures to stop people from becoming addicted, especially young people in disadvantaged areas.

Minister for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne TD said: "A number of actions in “Reducing Harm Supporting Recovery” address the survey findings, especially the continuing need for preventative measures that focus on young people.

"The strategy commits to developing targeted, appropriate and effective services for young people at risk of substance misuse, focused on socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

"In progressing our strategy and its priority actions, I secured €1m annually for this new fund. The initial focus of the fund will be to prevent the use of benzodiazepines among young people.

"I am aware that services on the ground are concerned about the rapid increase in numbers of young people taking benzodiazepines in combination with other substances. This new funding will enable services to reach out to these young people and give them the supports that they need."

Digital Desk

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