The Department of Health today published "Statistics from the Northern Ireland Substance Misuse Database: 2020/21 (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 2021.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions resulted in some disruption to services during 2020/21. This should be taken into consideration when making comparisons with previous years.
- In Northern Ireland in 2020/21, a total of 2,920 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 problem drug use only (36.0%, 1,052); a similar proportion presented indicating problem alcohol use only (35.9%, 1,047); 28.1% of clients presented to services indicating both drug and alcohol misuse (821 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 (26.7% & 25.8% respectively). However, more than two-fifths of clients presenting to treatment for problem alcohol use only were female (44.9%).
- Around two-fifths of clients presenting to treatment were aged 26-39 years for both drug misuse only (40.7%), and for drug & alcohol misuse (39.4%); however clients accessing services for misuse of alcohol only tended to be in older age-groups with around two-thirds (67.5%) being 40 years and over.
- Cannabis was the most commonly used drug with almost two-thirds of clients who use drugs reporting taking it (61.0%), this was followed by Cocaine (42.4%); Benzodiazepines (23.4%) and Pregabalin (15.7%).
- Around one in ten drug use clients reported ever having injected (11.4%); of those who had injected, around a quarter (27.2%) reported having shared injecting equipment at some time.
- Of those clients presenting to services for drug misuse, three-fifths indicated daily use (59.9%); of those clients attending for problem alcohol use, two-fifths (41.8%) indicated daily consumption of alcohol.