Young Irish people rank second highest in Europe for cocaine use 1 year ago

Young Irish people rank second highest in Europe for cocaine use

Patients being treated for cocaine misuse increased by 171% between 2011 and 2019.

A new study has revealed that young people in Ireland have the second highest cocaine usage numbers in Europe.


The figures were revealed in a report titled 'Alcohol and other drug use among children and young people in Ireland: prevalence, risk and protective factors, consequences, responses, and policies' from the Health Research Board.

Cocaine use in the last year among young people increased from 3.0% in 2014–15 to 4.4%, with a major increase in usage seen in young women.

Cocaine use in women aged 15-24 increased from 0.8% in 2014–15 to 4.5% in 2019–20.

The use of cocaine has steadily increased in young people since 2014, with the drug being the fourth most common implicated in drug poisoning deaths.


Treatment for cocaine misuse increased by 171% between 2011 and 2019, with Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) data showing an 89% increase in the number of cocaine-related hospitalisations among young people between 2015 and 2019 alone.

Cannabis remains the most popular illegal drug for young people, with 23% of survey respondents having reported lifetime cannabis use.

Cannabis users were six times more likely to report poor mental health than non-users of the drug.

Binge drinking remains a prevalent issue among young people, with one in three people aged between 15-24 having been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder.


Two-thirds of young people admitted to binge drinking, with Ireland having the third highest level of female heavy episodic drinking (more than six units in a single sitting) in the world, and the fourth highest in the world for males.

19% of men and 25% of women said they drank alcohol to cheer up, and 17% of men and 23% of women said they drank to forget about their problems.

322 people aged 15–24 years died as a result of drug and/or alcohol poisoning, accounting for 8.7% of the total 3,715 poisoning deaths among all age groups during that period.

You can read the report in full here.