The claim is included in a report collated by the HSE’s adolescent addiction service dealing with large parts of south and west Dublin, including areas such as Clondalkin, Ballyfermot, Lucan, and Palmerstown.
It also shows falls in the rate of use of some drugs and said one third of teenagers accessing the addiction service had a drug debt issue.
The recently-published figures for 2016 show that 49 young people accessed the service in 2016, down from 58 in 2015 and 59 in 2014, with the drop understood to be due to greater success in school completion programmes and other interventions for teens.
In 2016, the average age of those using the service was 15.5 years. Most of the referrals came from the young person’s family or from social workers, as well as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and other sources.
Last year also saw a marked increase in the number of cases referred to the service by schools. Just 6% of those referred had been out of education or training at the time, down from 18% in 2015, with the report citing “continuing improvements in terms of educational retention”.
Substance abuse was a factor in 36% of families and parental separation was a feature in 56% of cases, while 60% of the children referred had previous contact with CAMHS. As for the drugs being used by those accessing the service, 63% were using cannabis/weed, which was a factor to some degree in 90% of all referrals.
Alcohol was the main abuse in 12% of cases, but was present as a factor in 60% of referrals, even though that figure was down compared with previous years.
Benzodiazepines (33%), amphetamines (31%), and cocaine (29%) were also listed, and the report noted 34% of teenagers had an indebtedness issue. The previous year, that figure was 46%.
Some of those using the service are in care and there was a rise in absconding, in accessing out-of-hours services and in care placement, while 14% attended hospital, 13% had self-harmed and 2% had attempted suicide.
The report added: “Currently, in some areas, a number of families are facing a threat of eviction due to landlords using excuse of anti-social behaviour by young people as competition for accommodation escalates.”