The global regulatory body on drugs has highlighted a sharp rise in the abuse of cannabis and so-called new substances in Ireland.
In its 2012 report, the International Narcotics Control Board said Ireland was a starting point for the trafficking of amphetamine drugs to Australia.
The board fired a broadside across the bows of a growing number of countries proposing the legalisation of the possession of drugs, particularly cannabis. It said any such moves would “violate” international drug laws.
The body, which regulates the adherence of states to international drug laws, expressed concerns at the growth in herbal cannabis trade in Europe.
Garda figures show this trend is reflected here, with record detections of cannabis factories in 2012.
The board reports that the total amount of herbal cannabis seized across Europe doubled from 8.8 tonnes in 2010 to 17.7 tonnes in 2011.
Reflecting the booming trade in grow houses or cannabis factories, it said the amount of cannabis plants seized jumped from 1.7m plants in 2004 to around 30m plants in 2010.
Treatment figures in Ireland showed cases involving cannabis as the primary drug of abuse increased by over 80% from 2005 to 2010, with cannabis overtaking heroin as the most commonly abused drug.
It said use of new psychoactive substances, such as the former legal highs sold in headshops, was rising in Europe. Figures for Ireland showed 4% of adults and 10% of young adults had taken them in the previous year. In relation to trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants, Ireland is one of five countries reported as embarkation points to Australia, it said.
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