Ireland ranks fourth in Europe in drug-related deaths

Orla Dwyer

There were 71 deaths per million people as a result of drugs in the country.The deaths were mainly in those aged 40 and below. Image Credit:Vice

Ireland has the fourth highest rate of drug deaths in Europe according to a recent EU report. 

The results are down from the 2011 report in which Ireland ranked third.  The deaths were mainly in those aged 40 and below, with 25 per cent of the people who died aged 20 to 29.

“The drug-induced mortality rate among adults aged 15-64 years was 71 deaths per million in 2014, which is more than three times the most recent European average of 20.3 deaths per million,” said the report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The report also showed that a European survey of 15-16 year old students found that Ireland was below average for use of cigarettes, alcohol, and heavy drinking. However, the same age group scored higher than average for use of cannabis, other drugs, and inhalants.

The Ireland Country Drug Report 2017 took data supplied by the Irish Health Research Board and compared them with 29 other European states. Estonia had the highest number of drug deaths in Europe. This has been the case for several years.

Ireland’s result is 12 times that of Portugal, a country in which drugs were decriminalised in 2001 and a focus was put on treatment instead of punishment.

DCU has a ‘no drugs’ policy according to the DCU website, however very little other information regarding drugs is on the site.

“Over the years, DCU has had a firm zero per cent tolerance policy on drugs and all members of staff involved in the safety and welfare of students are acutely aware of the dangers that drugs bring. Although we don’t have a ‘problem’ with drugs at DCU, we are very conscious that drugs may form part of the social lives of some of our students,” said Claire Bohan, Director of Student Support and Development in DCU.

DCU is planning a new initiative called ‘DCU Healthy’ which will cover student and staff health and wellbeing as well as drug usage.

“Within this, drugs is an issue which we will address quite deliberately and pro-actively,” said Bohan.

Orla Dwyer

Image Credit:Vice