Ireland has one of the highest levels of drug-related deaths in Europe, with over 100 deaths per 1m inhabitants aged 15-64, a new report has shown.
These figures compares with a Europe-wide average of between 46 and 48, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s World Drug Report.
Heroin is the main opiate used in Europe, and Ireland recorded an increase in the prevalence of opiate use in 2010, to 0.72%, according to the report.
Ireland, along with Denmark, Italy, Spain and the UK remain countries with rates higher than the West and Central European average for cocaine usage.
The report says that seizures of cocaine peaked in Ireland in 2007, and have declined ‘significantly’ since then.
In Europe, the UK, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Spain and Germany account for 80% of all drug-related deaths, with around one in 10 taking place in the UK, the figures showed.
The UN report also found that while overall drug use across the world remained stable, ‘demand soared for substances not under international control’ - so-called ‘legal highs’.
‘The generally positive trends for the 'traditional' drugs, however, do not apply to all illicit drug markets,’ the report said.
‘These markets continue to evolve and every year new products, not under control, are manufactured to supply an increasingly diversified demand for psychoactive substances.’
Yury Fedotov, executive director of the UNODC, warned that soaring production, trafficking and consumption of ATS accompanied by a resurgence in opium cultivation and heroin trafficking were a serious concern in south-east Asia.
‘The gains we have witnessed in the traditional drugs market are being offset by a fashion for synthetic 'designer drugs' mimicking illegal substances,’ he said.