Secondary school pupils surveyed said a bag of weed would cost as little as €20, an ecstasy pill around €5, and a benzodiazepine (tranquilliser) tablet just €1.
Most of the 400 pupils surveyed did not believe alcohol advertisements influenced their choices and felt that drink sponsorship should be allowed to continue.
The research was carried out among 400 15- to 17-year-olds in nine schools in Dublin’s north inner city.
The report authors said they saw “wonderful young people who, for a wide variety of reasons, succumb to addiction with devastating effects for them, including illness, breakdowns, loss of jobs, opting out of school, suicide ideation, and fatalities”.
The report, ‘Just Saying’, was carried out by the North Inner City Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
“Drug markets have become more violent in the last decade, with younger people involved in greater numbers as runners and dealers,” it said.
“For some, the temptation of easy cash from the local drug trade is difficult to resist when surrounded by unemployment and limited life opportunities.”
Facilitators told report authors that alcohol seemed “to be widely used and acceptable” and that there was a perception that weed was “not really a drug as it was very acceptable”.
Pupils said alcohol and weed were the most common drugs, followed closely by ecstasy, followed by cocaine, benzodiazepines, and former headshop products.
The teenagers said it was easy to get alcohol and drugs.
They said weed costs between €20 and €50; ecstasy €5; cocaine between €50 and €100, or €15 for a line. Benzodiazepines (legal tranquillisers) cost €1 for a tablet.
Of TV ads for alcohol, the pupils said they often represented products as fun and relaxing, but showed an unrealistic lifestyle. Some said the ads would encourage them to drink, but others disagreed. A majority said alcohol sponsorship would not influence them.
Many felt there was a lack of real drug information at schools and that the impact on them was limited.