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Number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction surged by 400%; majority are women

DUBLIN: The number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction, particularly crack cocaine, is increasing in Ireland. The number of such people has soared by 400% in recent years, according to the Health Research Board (HRB). These figures are also included in the National Drug Treatment Reporting System’s latest report, which covers the seven-year period from 2014 to 2020.

More women than men are seeking treatment

The report says that more women than men seek treatment for drug addiction. Experts reveal that the number of women seeking treatment for cocaine addiction has increased by about 80% in the last two years. The number of men seeking crack cocaine treatment has “remained stable year-on-year”.

Most of the addicts were from urban cities 

Dr. Anne Marie Carew, from the HRB, said the majority of cocaine users live in large urban cities and come from a more socially disadvantaged background. “The number started at a very low base, approximately 84 cases. By last year, this was over four hundred and equates to about a 400% increase,” Dr Carew said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people undergoing drug treatment decreased, while the number of people seeking cocaine treatment rose.

Open drug dealing in Ballymun!

The investigation revealed the extent of open drug dealing in Ballymun parks and housing estates. It also included the secret filming of drug dealers selling drugs at a Ballymun housing complex on Balbutcher Lane. In a four-hour period, more than 40 drug deals were uncovered in the RTE investigation.

Dr Marie Carew said crack cocaine is highly addictive and there has been an increase in the number of people begging in drug-selling areas.

“One of the things which distinguishes crack cocaine from cocaine is that crack cocaine is smoked so it goes much quicker into your brain,” said Dermot King, from the Ballymun Youth Action Project.

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