Drug Census Reveals Extent of Addictions

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OVER 5,000 people in Northern Ireland are being treated for drug or alcohol misuse, it was revealed yesterday.

A first ever Census of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services compiled details on the extent of the drink and drugs problem.

The data will be used to help the Government in the development of its new drink and drugs strategy.

The study found that 5,064 were undergoing treatment for the misuse of drink, drugs or both when a %snapshot& was taken on March 1 this year.

It showed that approximately six in 10 were attending treatment centres for alcohol-only related problems, 20 per cent for drug-only problems and 19 per cent for both.

Almost two thirds of patients were male and 35 per cent female ! the vast majority, 95 per cent, were over 18.

However, of particular concern will be the news that over 250 youngsters under the age of 18 were under treatment for misusing drink or drugs.

One in 10 of those being treated for drug misuse are under 18. They also account for two per cent of those being treated for alcohol misuse and 10 per cent of those being treated for misusing both.

Rob Phipps, co-ordinator of the Regional Alcohol and Drugs Strategy Team, said the need for the census had been driven by the need to get a clear picture of the situation$. …