Press release

New EU Web Survey on drugs will capture drug use trends and inform harm reduction needs in Ireland

Published: 22 May 2024


Do you use drugs? How many, and why?

These are some of the questions asked in the European Web Survey on Drugs, launched today by HSE Drugs.ie, the Health Research Board (HRB) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) to find out about drug use trends across Europe.

The anonymous survey aims to engage with people aged 18 and over and asks about the types of drugs they use, why and how they use them. It will provide valuable insight into drug trends and the diverse groups of people who now use drugs in Ireland, including the use of newer drugs to the market such as HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol), which is a ‘cannabinoid’ product that has emerged on the European and Irish markets since 2022.

The survey opens for Irish participation for a 6 week period starting today (Wednesday, 22 May 2024). The final results will be used to inform EU and Irish reports as well as the development of harm reduction responses in Ireland. 

Coordinated by the EMCDDA, 36 countries will be taking part in this year’s survey to capture the most current landscape and to compare trends across regions.

Brian Galvin from the Health Research Board, explained: “This initiative aims to gather current information on the most recent drug trends nationally. Focusing on aspects such as commonly used drugs, purchasing behaviours, and motivations for drug use, the survey offers a crucial snapshot of prevalence, trends, and attitudes among people who use drugs.  The insights from this survey will be invaluable for policymakers to better understand behaviours, develop effective policies, plan new initiatives and monitor impacts.”

Nicki Killeen, Emerging Drug Trends Manager, HSE National Social Inclusion Office, said: “It is an extremely important time to conduct research on drug use in Ireland. We know the landscape has significantly changed with more people now using drugs who may never have received drug education, information or support.

“We hope to understand a number of key areas specific to Ireland, such as the use of ketamine which is increasing but missing from other areas of research. The Irish specific sections will focus on drug information, harm reduction and support needs, drug use in nightlife and the HSE Safer Nightlife Programme as well as on the substance HHC which we currently know very little about.

“An important element of this survey is to also establish if survey participants would use the HSE Safer Nightlife and ‘back of house’ drug monitoring programme.”

In the last survey in 2021, almost 6,000 respondents, shared their experiences with a range of drugs, including on re-emerging trends at that point in time such as nitrous oxide and psychedelic mushrooms. The 2021 European Web Survey on Drugs Results for Ireland can be downloaded on European Web Survey on Drugs 2021: Irish Results - emcdda.europa.eu

Information:

Share your experiences and take part on the survey in European Web Survey on Drugs 2024 Ireland - ec.europa.eu

For more information, drug harm reduction and support relating to your own or someone else’s drug use visit Drugs.ie, freephone the HSE Helpline on 1800 459 459 Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm or email helpline@drugs.ie


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