Ireland - Teen drug use ‘higher than US levels’

By Lunar Loops · May 28, 2008 · ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    This from The Irish Examiner:

    Teen drug use ‘higher than US levels’

    27th May 2008
    Irish teenagers have passed out their US counterparts in illegal drug use, according to a new report.
    Levels of illegal drug use are now far greater than the European average and even higher than the last study of Irish teenagers.

    The findings are contained in new research on 15 to 19-year-olds in the south and south-east of the country. The research was conducted by the school of psychology in UCD and HSE South.

    “The findings regarding alcohol use are consistent with previous research, but the findings on drug use are higher,” said Dr Gary O’Reilly of the school of psychology.

    “Previous research showed Irish teenagers lagged behind the US. They’ve actually caught them up, if not passed them out.”

    The research, conducted with Dr Deirdre Palmer of the HSE, found 50% of young people had taken a drug at some stage in their lives (lifetime prevalence.

    This compared with 40% of American teenagers. The last research on Irish teenagers (the European ESPAD study in 2003) put the Irish rate at 40%.

    The report said the ESPAD and US surveys were of the 15-16 age group and that the older age-spread of their research may be an important factor in the higher rate.

    The report said the lifetime use of cannabis was twice the European average, the lifetime use of inhalants and hallucinogens three times the European average, while the lifetime use of cocaine and amphetamine was five times the European average.

    The report stressed there were different levels of illegal drug usage, from experimental, to regular, to problem usage. While the lifetime prevalence of cannabis was 41%, regular, or monthly, usage was 14%, while weekly usage or more was 7%. For cocaine, lifetime usage was 11%, but monthly usage was just 1%, while almost no one used it weekly. Dr O’Reilly said while the 1% was a cause of concern for the people concerned, the “substances of real concern” were high alcohol usage and high cannabis use.

    “Some 14% are regular users of cannabis, that’s a high level of usage, given the concern over heavy cannabis use and mental health.” He accepted “part of growing up” was about experimenting, but said young people needed to be educated to drink responsibly and understand the effects of drugs like cannabis. He said of the 460 students surveyed, some 10% were “high-end” substance users and that their usage looked very similar to those in residential treatment for alcohol and drugs. He said a further 8% were using drugs regularly.

    He said the factors “fuelling the shift” from experimental to problem usage included family difficulties, life difficulties and coping abilities, the pleasure from substances and the neighbourhoods the teenagers grew up in.

    The research was published at an international conference entitled Alcohol and Drug Use in Young People, at UCD yesterday.

    Share This Article


  1. Durd1e
    These figures don't surprise me...there is a serious lack of amenities for people of that age group in Ireland and we head further and further down the path that the UK has taken of criminalising youth. Of course they feel marginalised and disaffected.

    This from the country that actually made 'happy hour' (any period where alcohol is sold more cheaply) illegal. So now there is 'sad hour' when you realise it costs about one hundred euro to go out drinking for a night.

    It is impossible to eliminate demand for illegal drugs - there is too much money to be made. Similarly, it is impossible to eliminate demand by imposing heavy penalties - illegality makes it more attractive to some and the punishment seems distant and unreal to most. The only way is to try to eliminate the cause of destructive drug taking and try to de-criminalise social drug taking which has no negative effects on society or the individual.
  2. Nature Boy
    SWIM wouldn't spend anything near €100 on a night out drinking. Drinking isn't worth wasting that amount on. SWIM has himself a few drinks before heading out, maybe four or five in town, maybe food and leave on foot (taxis are a rip-off).

    As for the amount of teenage cannabis smokers, this is mainly down to the strength of the black market. There will always be a couple of kids banging out low quality cannabis in schools because the gaps appear in the market where younger people can access it. It's probably easier to get than cigarettes and alcohol. No IDs necessary.
  3. Durd1e
    Too true. And the age old argument that it is a 'gateway' drug seems to me to be purely down to the fact that people buying cannabis are being exposed to the sort of people who also sell harder drugs.

    Even 5 drimks in town and some food can be almost forty euro. I do enjoy the occasional spat of drinking and it is really the only way to socialise with my work crowd. It just seems that the people in Dail Eireann found a way to kill two birds with one stone...penalise drinkers in the forlorn hope that it will stop late night violence and raise revenue in the form of the ludicrous tax on alcohol.
  4. schiz0phren1c
    Swim is an old bastid who can totally confirm this report,was at a party at the weekend with a mate and his younger siblings were there,one of whom at 17 was keeping up with Swim who is in his 30's drug for drug,swim is not a buzzkilling cunt so did not go into lecture mode,but felt quite bad for young dude that there is fuck all else to do in Ireland in these "post celtic tiger" days than take waaaaaaaaay too many strong drugs.and the above posters are exactly right on the cost of a night out nowadays,congrats govt.,way to disenfranchise the youth(lessons of the past being ignored and all that)
    tis bollix.
  5. Mr. Giraffe
    Umm, folks, you're talking about a totally nonsensical report, a blatant piece of reefer madness propeganda.

    Look at the figures: they compared 15-19 year old Irish people, with 15-16 year old Americans and Europeans in order to come to their 'shocking' conclusions.

    As usual, total scare-mongering nonsense.
  6. cra$h
    what swim got out of it was they broadened their study from 15-16 yr olds to 15-19, in both countries
  7. Mr. Giraffe
    Look again, that's not what the report says, which makes it basically useless. It's like comparing cocaine use among teenagers with fizzy sherbert use among 10 year olds and drawing conclusions about the 'shocking' rate of white powder abuse in Irish society.

  8. HorseBucket
    Its cheaper to take class A drugs in Ireland than it is to drink.
  9. Durd1e
    That is generally true...the one exception is cocaine. Its the universe's way of telling you you have too much money.

    Do you guys feel that the crackdown on drinking has had a positive effect on the levels of mischief on the streets. Personally I don't think so...the root cause of late night violence etc is not alcohol, it merely facilitates it in some cases.
  10. HorseBucket
    Yea cokes a ripoff in all developed countries. Irelands one of the worst though. I lived in Canada for a few years and the coke was cheaper and much purer.

    I think drink does contribute a fair bit to violent crimes but definitely not the root cause of it. They say Englands so violent cuz its an alcohol driven society but the Irish binge drink just as much if not more but the levels of violent crime in Ireland are nothing compared to England.

    I don't know why the U.S. and U.K. have such high levels of crime for developed countries but its definitely not the drink.
  11. Mr. Giraffe
    Alcohol has a lot to do with the violence, not just in the sense that it is proven to lower a person's threshold for violence.

    I understand the objections to this- 'I can drink and not kill someone' - but you have to understand that we are talking about a very long historical association with alcohol, which has been relentlessly promoted by the church and the resultant societies to the extent that it is now almost totally socially acceptable.

    I do not drink alcohol because I recognise that it is a hard drug, and I have no more interest in taking one hard drug than another. I would no more drink a pint than I would chase the dragon. But I am an oddball, one of only a handful of people in my country who recognise the realities of alcohol.

    The depth and extent of our relationship with alcohol is best expressed in the parable of St. Patrick. When he invaded Ireland to carry out genocide against the Druids, Patrick would always be sure to introduce the natives to the fine wines and whiskies he had in plentiful supply. It was said that he would not sermonise without a drink. Mushroom use was stamped out, the old ways, legends and histories were destroyed and the people were made ignorant. We were ruled in this way for a millenia and a half.

    Drink is, and always has been, a weapon against the lower classes, a drug-tool to keep them stupid and concerned only with fucking and dancing and singing and fighting.

    Every year, on March 17th, we celebrate St. Patrick's day by getting blind drunk and fucking and fighting in the streets. Very apt!
  12. Nature Boy
    Do you have any legitimate historical sources on that? SWIM did a lot of work on St. Patrick, albeit at undergraduate level, a couple of years back and found that Patrick's story is incredibly obscure with very little evidence to back it up at all. Very little is known about him other than he was taken as a slave, from Wales most likely, and that he played a large part in converting the Irish to Christianity (though it was likely he wasn't acting alone; see Palladius).
  13. Mr. Giraffe
    Most of the sources we have are folk stories, songs, and so on, the whole thing having been made more complicated by the great Christian tradition of book burning.

    I can quote from some of them if you wish, but you may be familiar with them already. Would you not agree from your historical reading that Patrick appears to have been quite the drunk?

    As for the Druids, well, those were the snakes he drove into the sea. It is said that Lough Dergh turned red with the blood of the beasts he killed.

    I would be most interested to hear your take on Patrick given your studies. If you could point me in the direction of further research, I would be most grateful. As you say, the sources are sketchy but it is a topic which has caught my interest.
  14. Nature Boy
    As best known, the pre-Christian druids never kept anything like written records. Druids and tribal poets probably trained extensively in order to build the ability to memorise large amounts of information. The problem with folk stories and songs is that they have altered immensely over the centuries. If you look at the nature of the Irish language, it can be broken down into literally hundreds of different dialects and sub-dialects down the years. The 17th century poet Dáibhí Ó Bruadair demonstrates this. He was notoriously difficult to translate because he used dialects, both contemporary and historical, that were very hard to track down in literature. On top of that, he improvised in a style of poetic license, something which is very common in old Irish due to the metaphorical nature of the language compared to most other European tongues.

    As far as Patrick goes, SWIM has a few books that draw a lot of background and scepticism but very little solid information about the man. There's Four Latin Lives of St. Patrick by Ludwig Bieler, The Letters of St. Patrick by Daniel Conneely and The Problem of St. Patrick by James Carney. You might need access to a university library to track these down. The more I read up about the subject, the more obscure it becomes to the point where, sadly, it becomes disinteresting because so little is known. All assumptions involving Patrick are but assumptions. A true historian has very little to go by when assessing his role or actual significance.
  15. Mr. Giraffe
    Thanks Nature Boy, I shall try to seek these out and see if there's room for revisionism!

    Incidentally, my understanding is that the Druids did indeed write everything down, but that this myth of monsterous memory abilities was created in order to cover up the fact that the Christians burned them all.
  16. HorseBucket
    The myth of my town is that St Patrick moved to a little island off the coast and the locals from the town sailed over to his island while he was off preaching and they robbed his goat and ate it and when St Pat asked them what happened his goat and they all denied robbing it so he took away their power of speech and made them all bleet like goats until they admitted it.

    The nickname of our football team is the goats.

    But yeah I don't think St Patrick was the hero most people think he is today.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!