Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (151)

Micheál Martin


151. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health his views regarding the increased use and purity of cocaine; if he has met with the Minister for Justice and Equality to discuss same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24760/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In Ireland the most recent general population survey was completed in 2014-15. This shows that 2.9 per cent of 15–34-year olds used cocaine in the last year which had not changed since the 2010/11 survey. This is lower than the corresponding figure for the UK (4.7%), the Netherlands (4.5%) and roughly the same as Denmark and France.

The Health Research Board is are currently carrying out the 2018/19 General Population Survey on drug use and we expect preliminary results by the end of 2019.

The most recent published data from Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) on cocaine purity are for October 2016.  These showed that the average purity of “Bulk Cocaine” (i.e. seizures over 25 grams) was 40%. The average purity of “Street Level Cocaine” (i.e. smaller seizures) was 28% in Dublin and 19% outside Dublin (overall average:  24%).  No major shift in purity has been noted since then.  Updated data will be published later this year.  Further information on drugs case types submitted for analysis is contained in the FSI Annual Report for 2018, which is available on the FSI website

The national drug strategy ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery’ recognises the need to strengthen early harm reduction responses to current and emerging trends and patterns of drug use. 

I am committed to reducing drug-related harm in our society, especially drug-related deaths. I recently announced that €1 million in additional funding will be provided to support the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy. This funding will support regional initiatives on emerging trends and patterns of drug use, including cocaine and crack cocaine.