Mon, 06 Feb 2023

Statistics from the Northern Ireland Substance Misuse Database: 2021/22

Northern Ireland Executive
15 Dec 2022, 22 GMT+10

The Department of Health today published "Statistics from the Northern Ireland Substance Misuse Database: 2021/22 (Experimental Statistics)" report and accompanying statistical tables.

The report summarises information on people presenting to services with problem drug and/ or alcohol misuse and relates to the 12-month period ending 31 March 2022.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions resulted in some disruption to services during 2020/21 and 2021/22. This should be taken into consideration when making comparisons with previous years.

Key Findings

  • in Northern Ireland in 2021/22, a total of 3,092 clients were recorded on the Substance Misuse Database as having presented to services for problem substance misuse.
  • more than one-third of clients presented to services indicating alcohol misuse only (37.0%, 1,143); One-third of clients presented to services indicating problem drug use only (32.5%, 1,004); 30.6% of clients presented to services indicating both drug and alcohol misuse (945 clients).
  • the majority of clients were male. Just over a quarter of clients presenting to treatment for either drugs only, or for drugs & alcohol, were female (27.7% & 27.4% respectively). However, around two-fifths of clients presenting to treatment for problem alcohol use only were female (41.8%).
  • around two-fifths of clients presenting to treatment were aged 26-39 years for both drug misuse only (43.6%), and for drug & alcohol misuse (40.4%); however, clients accessing services for misuse of alcohol only tended to be in older age-groups with almost three-quarters (72.4%) being 40 years and over.
  • cannabis was the most commonly used drug with more than three-fifths of clients who use drugs reporting taking it (62.0%), this was followed by Cocaine (49.4%); Benzodiazepines (23.9%) and Pregabalin (16.7%).
  • around one in ten drug use clients reported ever having injected (10.7%); around a quarter (24%) of those who had injected reported having shared injecting equipment at some time.
  • of those clients presenting to services for drug misuse, almost three-fifths indicated daily use (57.6%); of those clients attending for problem alcohol use, two-fifths (42.7%) indicated daily consumption of alcohol.

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