Tripling Of Cocaine Addiction Cases In Ireland

Cocaine - Getty

Cocaine has overtaken heroin as the main problem drug among cases reported to the HRB.

The latest figures from the Health Research Board show continued growth in the number of cases seeking treatment for problem cocaine use.

Figures in the report show a total of 10,769 cases were treated for problem drug use in 2021.

Two in every five of these cases were new to treatment. Almost one in three cases sought treatment for cocaine.

Opioids were the main problem drug for which cases sought treatment, followed by cocaine, then cannabis and benzodiazepines.

Cocaine was the main problem drug among new cases. Commenting on the key findings of the report, HRB Chief Executive Mairead O’Driscoll said:

This year’s drug treatment figures bring into sharp focus the growing prevalence of cocaine as a problem drug in Irish society. By providing timely data the HRB can deliver important insights into trends in drug treatment that can inform policy and practice in relation to supporting treatment approaches as well as addressing risk factors and prevention.”

Dr Suzi Lyons, Senior Researcher at the HRB, says:

We are observing a sustained increase in cocaine treatment year-on-year. In 2019 we saw cocaine overtake cannabis as the main problem drug; this year the numbers reported as seeking treatment for cocaine exceed those for heroin – which may mark a tipping point in Irish addiction trends. While we are seeing a decrease in the proportion of cocaine cases taking more than one drug, almost two-thirds are mixing cocaine with other drugs. This is a concern as mixing drugs can impact recovery and increase risk of overdose.”