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Class A drug use increasing in Northern Ireland

Class A drug use is increasing
Seanín Graham

ECSTASY and cocaine use are increasing in Northern Ireland while a tenth of addicts seeking NHS treatment have used heroin, it has emerged.

Men continue to account for the majority of those with drug and alcohol problems, while adults aged between 25 and 34 are the biggest users.

The latest health service figures show that more than 4,300 people were referred to addiction services across the north last year.

Cannabis was the most commonly used drug with almost two thirds of addicts who use drugs reporting taking it.

While there has been a reported increase in the number of Benzodiazepines - such as illegal 'street blues' - the database revealed a slight drop in users.

More than a third of addicts had used cocaine, while Ecstasy abuse went up from 10.5 per cent to 15.3 per cent in a year.

One in ten drug users reported ever having injected, while more than 40 per cent of people with a drink problem said they drank each day. Relapses were also common.

Coroners have repeatedly warned of the spike in drug-related deaths among young men, with two recent cases linked to heroin and benzo overdoses.

Earlier this month, a mother-of-three, Kelly Watters (42), and her friend Stuart Robinson (31) were found dead in a house in the Shankill area of Belfast in what was understood to be drug-related.

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