Teen patients use cannabis as the substance of choice

By Maurice Garvey

CANNABIS was the primary substance of use by teen patients, according to the latest annual report by the HSE Adolescent Addiction Service in Ballyfermot.

The report found 72 per cent of patients had taken the substance, while 70 per cent of patients were also taking alcohol, with 36 per cent using cocaine and 30 per cent amphetamines.

photo of herbal cannabis 14th August 18 compressor

Many of the patients came from broken homes

The service is based in Cherry Orchard Hospital, and provides addiction treatment services for alcohol and drug abuse to young people from Ballyfermot, Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Lucan and Inchicore.

Last year, it provided help to 43 young people aged between 13 and 18 and their families – one fewer than in 2017.

The report also found smaller levels of substance use with benzodiazepines (12 per cent), ketamine (7 per cent) and LSD (5 per cent).

“As in previous years, most young people had established patterns of substance use prior to referral and, as a consequence, some struggle to maintain drug-free status, but most achieve stability and several remain abstinent,” the HSE said.

It claimed that the main challenge was for parents and other adults to identify young people within risk groups at an early stage and to “elevate concern for them”.

The report found no record of patients using opiates, solvents or head shop-type products last year.

Ninety-three per cent of those availing of the service last year were male, while 11 per cent were non-Irish nationals.

More than half of all patients came from families where their parents had separated.

Nine teenagers were out of education or training at the time of being referred to the service.

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