20th January 2022
By Roland Sebestyén

Cocaine has become increasingly popular among students in Ireland over the last few years while is still the number one choice for recreational uses.

A new survey conducted by researchers at the University College Cork (UCC) found that cocaine is now more commonly consumed among students than ecstasy, the somewhat cheaper “party drug.”

According to Breaking News, 11,500 students – the population included undergraduate and postgraduate students aged 18 years and above – from 21 higher education institutions completed the survey.

One of the key findings is that more than half of the students have tried illicit drugs and a third used drugs in the last year.

Maybe more stunningly, more than 50% of the participants believed that drug use was part of student life.

The most commonly used drugs:

  • Cannabis – 52 per cent;
  • Cocaine – 25 per cent;
  • Ecstasy – 23 per cent;
  • Ketamine – 16 per cent;
  • ‘Magic’ Mushrooms – 12 per cent;
  • Amphetamines – 9 per cent;
  • and New Psychoactive Substances – 8 per cent

The Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said: “This report is an important resource for the Department and our higher education institutions.

“It helps understand the prevalence of drug use and the range of drugs being used by our students as well as detailing the impacts and effects, including harms caused by drug use in our student population.

“This data is vital to map the extent of the issue and will help us to develop appropriate responses and monitor trends in drug use in higher education over the coming years.”

Earlier this week, The Minister of State for the national drugs strategy Frank Feighan also reported that nine per cent of the public had used drugs in 2021, and 9,700 cases were treated for problem drug use in 2020, with another 5,800 cases treated for problem alcohol use.

In a hearing, Dr Eamon Keenan, the national clinical lead for addiction in the Health Service Executive (HSE), said: “We’re going to be allocating about €50,000 of that for training so that across the country we can provide training for staff to deliver appropriate evidence based-interventions to people who are presenting with health problems associated with cocaine and crack cocaine.”

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