Cocaine use among young Irish people second highest in Europe

Cocaine use among young Irish people second highest in Europe

Ireland has the second highest rate of cocaine and ecstasy use among young people in Europe.

A new report from the Health Research Board shows almost a third of 15-24 year old's have used illegal drugs between the years 2019 and 2020, while 6.8 per cent have used cocaine.

The number of young women consuming cocaine has quadrupled in recent years too - from 0.8 per cent in 2015 to 4.5 per cent in 2020.

Substance abuse specialist, Dr Garrett McGovern, says he's seen an increase in people coming to him seeking help.


"Sometime you are not sure whether it's actually an increase in use or more of an increase in the awareness about cocaine and it's ill-effects and the fact that there are treatments out there.

"I think there is no doubt over the last number of years, probably over the last 5 or 6 years, there has been a huge increase in the need for treatment for cocaine, particularly in young people."

The new report from the Health Research Board which examines substance use among young people has also found one-in-three drinkers aged 15-24 years of age in Ireland has an alcohol use disorder.

Despite a decrease in binge drinking, adolescents rank 7th out of 35 In Europe for reports of being drunk.


HRB Research Officer Anne Doyle says there is a clear link between criminality and substance use.

"We see a link between alcohol and drug use and criminal behavior.

"When we look at probation services data, we can see that a for the vast majority of young people who a referred to probation services, there is 86% prevalence rate of substance use upon their referral to probation services."