Thursday 23 January 2020

72pc of west Dublin teens getting HSE help for drug addiction take cannabis

Twice as many teens said they used cannabis (72pc) as cocaine (36pc) in the HSE report
Twice as many teens said they used cannabis (72pc) as cocaine (36pc) in the HSE report

Cannabis remains the main problem drug among teenagers from west Dublin receiving treatment for addiction.

A report by the HSE Adolescent Addiction Service in Bally- fermot found cannabis was the primary substance of use by patients using the service last year, with 72pc reporting taking it.

The service, which is based in Cherry Orchard Hospital, provides addiction treatment services for alcohol and drug abuse to young people from Ballyfermot, Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Lucan and Inchicore.

Last year, it provided help to 43 young people aged between 13 and 18 and their families - one fewer than in 2017.

The service's latest annual report shows 70pc of patients were also taking alcohol, with 36pc using cocaine and 30pc amphetamines.


Benzodiazepines were used by 12pc, with ketamine taken in 7pc of cases and LSD in 5pc.

"As in previous years, most young people had established patterns of substance use prior to referral and, as a consequence, some struggle to maintain drug-free status but most achieve stability and several remain abstinent," the HSE said.

It claimed that the main challenge was for parents and other adults to identify young people within risk groups at an early stage and to "elevate concern for them".

The report said there was no record of patients using opiates, solvents or head shop-type products last year.

It also noted there was a decrease in the number of patients who reported taking alcohol, benzodiazepines and amphetamines.

The report documented that some teenagers also had issues with indebtedness and absconding.

Ninety-three per cent of those availing of the service last year were male while 11pc were non-Irish nationals, the HSE said.

It said the number of young people who had previous contact with child and adolescent mental health services was up eight percentage points on 2017 to 48pc but was lower than at any other stage over the previous 22 years.

The existence of substance abuse within the patient's family was recorded in 52pc of cases last year.

More than half of all patients also came from families where their parents had separated.

Nine teenagers were out of education or training at the time of being referred to the service.

The HSE said it submitted four child protection notifications in relation to patients last year.

÷ CANNABIS: Taken by 72pc of users

÷COCAINE: Taken by 36pc of users

÷AMPHETAMINES: Taken by 30pc of users

÷BENZODIAZAPINES: Taken by 12pc of users

÷KETAMINE: Taken by 7pc of users

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