Over 4,300 in NI seek help over substance misuse

Some 4,368 people sought treatment for substance misuse in Northern Ireland in 2016/17, new figures show.

Over a quarter (27.4%) of those were related to misuse of drugs, while alcohol-related problems accounted for 44%. A further 28.6% sought help for both drug and alcohol misuse.

The Department of Health figures – for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2017 – also revealed that the majority of people who sought treatment (72.1%) were male.

The most common age group was 25-34 years (24.4%). However those accessing services only for alcohol misuse tended to be in older age-groups, with 45-54 years being the most common (30.9%).

Cannabis was the most commonly used drug, with almost two thirds of clients who use drugs reporting taking it (65.8%).

This was followed by cocaine (36.9%), benzodiazepines (35.1%), ecstasy (15.3%) and heroin (10.9%).

One in ten drug use clients reported having injected (10.6%), which is is consistent with the 2015/16 finding. Of those who had injected, around one in five (19.4%) reported having shared injecting equipment at some time.

Of those clients attending for alcohol misuse, two in five (44%) indicated daily consumption of alcohol.

The figures were compiled using the NI Substance Misuse database. Only those clients attending for the very first time or those who have not attended for treatment within the previous six months are recorded on the SMD.

The full report can be found here.

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