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Northern Ireland Drug Prevalence Survey_2010/2011_PHIRB

Northern Ireland Drug Prevalence Survey_2010/2011_PHIRB

    The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety today published the Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland: First Results from the 2010/11 Drug Prevalence Survey.

    ~ Tuesday, 22 November 2011

    The Bulletin was published jointly with the National Advisory Committee on Drugs in Ireland and relates to a survey carried out jointly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between October 2010 and May 2011.

    Key findings

    The key findings relating to drug prevalence in Northern Ireland in 2010/11 are:

    27% of respondents aged 15-64 years reported taking any illegal drugs at some point in their life.
    Cannabis was the most commonly reported illegal drug used, with 24% of all adults reported having ever used it; 5% of respondent reported using cannabis in the last year; and 3% of respondents reported using it in the last month.

    After cannabis, the most commonly used illegal drugs were: poppers and ecstasy (each 9%), cocaine powder (6%), amphetamines and magic mushrooms (each 6%), LSD (5%), and solvents (4%).
    Around one in three males (32%) and one in five females (22%) reported lifetime use of any illegal drug.

    Nearly two fifths of young adults (15-34 years) compared with one fifth (20%) of older adults (35-64 years) reported ever using any illegal drug.
    Around one fifth of respondents reported having ever used sedatives and tranquillisers (21%) and anti-depressants (22%). Twenty-four percent of females compared with 17% of males had ever used sedatives and tranquillisers and 28% of females compared with 15% of males reported having ever used anti-depressants.

    Comparisons between 2006/07 and 2010/11:

    In Northern Ireland, lifetime use and last month use of any illegal drug among all adults remained fairly similar between 2006/07 and 2010/11.
    The last year use of any illegal drug decreased from 9% in 2006/07 to 7% in 2010/11. This decrease can partly be explained by the decrease in the last year use of cannabis from 7% in 2006/07 to 5% in 2010/11.

    There was an increase in the last year and last month use of anti-depressants. The last year prevalence increased from 9% in 2006/07 to 12% in 2010/11 and the last month use increased from 8% in 2006/07 to 10% in 2010/11.

    Notes to editors:

    1. The main focus of the survey was to obtain prevalence rates for illegal drugs, such as cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, on a lifetime (ever used), last year (recent use) and last month (current use) basis. Similar prevalence questions were also asked for alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (e.g. tranquillisers); attitudinal and demographic information was also sought from respondents.

    2. The questionnaire and methodology for this survey were based on best practice guidelines drawn up by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). The questionnaires were administered through face-to-face interviews with respondents aged between15-64 normally resident in households in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    3. Fieldwork for the survey was carried out between October 2010 and May 2011 and the final achieved sample was 7,669 (5,134 in Ireland and 2,535 in Northern Ireland). The response rate for the survey was 60% in Ireland and 67% in Northern Ireland.

    4. To maximise its representativeness of the general population the achieved sample was weighted by gender, age and former Health Board Area in Ireland; and gender, age and Health and Social Case Trust area in Northern Ireland.

    5. The Drug Prevalence Survey was previously conducted in 2002/03 and 2006/07. When comparing the findings from the 2006/07 survey only those changes that are statistically significant at least at the 5% level are reported.