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Statistics from the Northern Ireland drug misuse database 1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A statistical bulletin detailing information on problem drug users presenting to treatment services in the year ending 31 March 2010 has been published.

The bulletin, published by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, reports on information collected through the Northern Ireland Drug Misuse Database (DMD), which was established in April 2000.

Key Findings

In Northern Ireland during 2009/10:

  • 2,008 individuals presented for treatment and gave their consent for their details to be included in the DMD. This is compared to 1,755 the year before, an increase of 253 individuals (14%).
  • The majority (72%) of individuals who presented were male; and just over one quarter (26%) were aged 21 years and under.
  • Cannabis was the most commonly reported main drug of misuse; it was reported by 42% of individuals in 2009/10 compared to 39% in 2008/09.
  • Benzodiazepines were the second most commonly reported main drug of misuse; they were reported by 23% of individuals in 2009/10 compared to 22% in 2008/09.
  • Cocaine (including crack cocaine) was the third most commonly reported main drug of misuse; it was reported by 9% of individuals in 2009/10 compared to 11% in 2008/09.
  • Heroin was reported as the main drug of misuse by 6% of individuals in 2009/10 compared to 8% in 2008/09. Over half (57%) of those who presented for treatment in 2009/10 and reported heroin as their main problem drug had been treated before.
  • The proportion of individuals who had ever injected was 7% in 2009/10, compared to 10% in 2008/09.

Notes to editors:

1. The Bulletin is published on the DHSSPS website:

2. This information was collated by the Public Health Information and Research Branch (PHIRB) of the DHSSPS.

3. A problem drug user is defined as a person who experiences social, psychological, physical or legal problems (related to intoxication and/or regular excessive consumption and/or dependence) as a consequence of their own use of drugs or chemical substances.

4. Drugs are defined as any drug, whether prescribed or not, including solvents and tranquillisers but excluding alcohol and tobacco.

5. The bulletin presents information on the profile of service users; drugs misused by those that presented for treatment; individuals’ previous history of treatment; injecting and sharing by drug users; and previous history of testing for viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis.

6. Participation in the DMD is voluntary and individuals have to give consent to their data being included. Information relating to 2,102 individuals that presented to drug misuse treatment services in 2009/10 was received: in 2,008 cases (96%) individual consent was given for including data within the DMD. Analyses are based on these 2,008 individuals. In the previous year (2008/09), information relating to 1,843 individuals that presented to drug misuse treatment services was received: 1,755 (95%) of these gave consent for their data to be held on the DMD.

7. This is the ninth bulletin reporting on information collected through the Northern Ireland DMD. The next publication is scheduled for 6 October 2011.

Additional Information:

Further information is available from:

Public Health Information and Research Branch
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Annex 2
Castle Buildings
Stormont
Belfast BT4 3SQ

Telephone: 028 9052 2520

Fax: 028 9052 3288

E-mail:

8. For media enquiries please contact the DHSSPS Information Office on 028 9052 0074, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.