Cannabis overtakes drink as problem drug for young
CANNABIS has now overtaken alcohol as the dominant problem drug for young Irish people.
However, alcohol remains the primary abuse substance for the older generation, and is linked to 73pc of admissions to addiction treatment centres.
One treatment centre which specialises in helping youngsters with addiction problems found that 62pc of admissions were now linked to cannabis abuse. Leading Irish addiction treatment centre Aiseiri warned in their 2013 annual report that the problem of poly-drug or multiple drug abuse was now increasing at an alarming rate.
Aiseiri - which operates treatment centres in Tipperary, Wexford and Kilkenny - treated a total of 444 people in 2013.
Of 297 people treated at the two main adult centres in Cahir and Wexford, just 38 refused to complete the treatment programme.
There has been a steady increase in the number of females seeking help for addiction problems, but treatment centres are still male-dominated.
The annual report found:
• In two adult treatment centres there were 226 alcohol addiction admissions compared to 23 for cannabis.
• The same centres (Cahir and Wexford) reported just 13 heroin addiction cases and 11 problem cocaine users.
• However, a treatment centre focused on young people (Aislinn/Kilkenny) reported the total opposite in substance abuse profile problems, with 74 cannabis cases compared to just 20 for alcohol.
• The same treatment centre also found there were a greater number of young people with cocaine, heroin and benzodiazepine addiction issues (24) than alcohol (20). "If we are to tackle abuse, if we are to educate, prevent and change addiction behaviour, we have to resource services for families," said Aiseiri chief executive Paul Conlon.
"While there have been some welcome developments in drug and alcohol policy, we still have no centralised structure or fund to support residential treatment, which we specialise in," he said.