One in six pupils aged 15 and 16 in the Republic of Ireland have admitted to smoking cannabis within the previous year of being surveyed, a new study has found.
Published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, an analysis of the 2019 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs reported that Ireland ranked 12th out of 25 European countries for the largest proportion of cannabis users.
Of the 300 respondents in Ireland who answered questions on drug use, over twelve percent admitted to taking cannabis more than 40 times in a year, while eleven per cent claimed it was not unusual to smoke it before midday.
Around 25 per cent of respondents admitted that cannabis had caused issues such as fights or accidents, while five per cent said such effects “often” occurred.
One of the study’s authors, Stephane Legleye, said: “Cannabis can lead to arguments or fights because of its effects, which can change interactions between people”.
He added: “It can also cause accidents”, as well as “fatigue, and difficulties in learning”.
Last month, Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer warned that legalising drugs would make the country’s problems worse and detract from the serious harm they cause.
Addressing the Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use (CAD), Professor Breda Smyth said: “The data available on cannabis use is of grave concern. One in five adults who use cannabis are likely to have a dependence on it, and one in three young people are likely to become addicted if they use cannabis weekly or more often.”
The head of Ireland’s fight against organised crime also recently told CAD that liberalising drug laws risked a surge in open use with significant social consequences.