21/10/2003

One-in-five NI people have taken illegal drugs

One-in-five people in Northern Ireland have taken an illegal drug, it was revealed today.

The figure was part of a cross-border survey commissioned by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) in Ireland and the Drug and Alcohol Information and Research Unit (DAIRU) in Northern Ireland.

The report showed that cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug whilst illegal drug use is more common amongst men than women.

Commenting on the survey, Health Minister, Angela Smith said: "Determining the prevalence of drug use is an essential underpinning of both the Drug Strategy and the delivery of services and policies, and is also a key epidemiological indicator adopted by the EU.

"Drug use – and particularly illegal drug use – is a problem that has affected many lives in Northern Ireland and it is vital that we have reliable information about drug use patterns which this survey provides, and which will help us in further developing the Drug Strategy."

Nearly 8,500 people took part in the survey between late 2002 and early 2003. It was carried out by MORI/MRC based on guidelines recommended by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

(MB)

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