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For the first time in the State more people have been presenting for treatment for cocaine use than for cannabis, while the number of children entering drug treatment has also significantly increased.

New data for drug trends in Ireland from the Health Research Board (HRB) reveals that although heroin remains a very significant problem, it is being displaced by cannabis and particularly cocaine.

Men about 30 years of age have been using cocaine, while drinking alcohol, in such large numbers they are driving changes for the treatment of all drug types, the HRB has found.

Its findings correspond with concerns among senior Garda officers who told The Irish Times that cocaine had become increasingly popular among men with higher disposable incomes as the economy had recovered in recent years.

A total of 10,664 cases were treated for problem drug use last year, up from 10,274 in 2018. The same drug user can account for more than one case in a year.

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