Ecstasy use on the rise among youngsters
Ecstasy use is on the rise among young people, according to a new national drug survey.
Recent use of ecstasy among 15 to 34 year olds increased significantly in many areas, with the biggest rises in the western and south western areas.
The findings emerged in the fourth drug prevalence survey of households by Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force in Ireland and Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.
It provides a breakdown of prevalence rates by region for illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sedatives, tranquillisers and anti-depressants and gambling.
It indicates that recent and current levels of illegal drug use increased in most regional drug and alcohol task force areas between 2010/11 and 2014/15.
Cannabis was the most frequently used illegal drug in all areas in the year prior to the survey, followed by ecstasy and cocaine.
The findings showed:
Recent use of any illegal drug was highest in the south western area and lowest in the mid-western area;
Use of opiates was highest in the south western area and lowest in the north eastern area;
Use of anti-depressants was highest in the south eastern area and lowest in the mid-western and north-western areas;
Last year alcohol consumption prevalence ranged from 67pc in the north western area to 83pc in the south western area;
Current use of any illegal drugs was also highest in the south western area;
Recent tobacco use was highest in the south western area, followed by the east coast.
Chair of the group Prof Catherine Comiskey said: "In examining the regional data, we see that prevalence of illegal drug use varies across areas. There is an overall increase in use of cannabis, ecstasy and anti-depressants for many regions."