Illegal drug use in North West on the rise

The use of illegal drugs is on the rise in the North West according to the latest results of the Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force survey.

The results of a drug prevalence survey undertaken in 2014/2015 have been released and they show mixed results for the North West area.

The survey which was conducted by the Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force shows findings at a local level.

It provides a breakdown of prevalence rates for illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sedatives and gambling.

The number of people who have ever taken illegal drugs in Sligo, Donegal or Leitrim increased since 2010/2011 from 16.6% up to 19.8%. This remains well below the national average of 30.7%.

Cannabis was the most commonly used drug by those in the North West while the use of ecstasy almost doubled from 3.6 to 7.4%.

The number of males who had used illegal drugs in the month prior to the survey increased from 1% to almost 4% in four years with cannabis again the most commonly used.

The amount of people who have ever taken alcohol, however, fell from 91.4% to 74%.

Just under 71% of adults between the age of 35 and 64 have tried alcohol at some stage according to the survey with that number rising to 78.7% for those under 34.

55.9% had tried alcohol at some time in the month prior to the survey which was also a decrease from 67% in 2010/2011.

The use of tobacco also fell with 45.1% of those asked saying they had ever taken a cigarette compared to over 50% previously.

For the first time those surveyed were asked about the use of e-cigarettes and 17.5% have used them at some stage in their life.