DUBLIN, Ireland: The chief medical officer has issued a stark warning regarding the alarming levels of cannabis consumption in Ireland, emphasizing that the situation is "of great concern."
Professor Breda Smyth delivered her message during the fifth meeting of the Citizens' Assembly on Drug Use, where she unveiled a series of troubling statistics. She revealed that one in five adult cannabis users in the country will likely depend on the drug. Even more concerning is that one in three young individuals is at risk of addiction if they use cannabis at least once a week.
Highlighting the drug's potency, Prof Smyth stated that the strength of cannabis has surged by a staggering 57 percent over the past decade, from 2011 to 2021. Additionally, the profile of cannabis use has evolved, with a growing number of people using the drug more frequently, often daily.
The chief medical officer underscored the addictive nature of cannabis, revealing that the latest data shows a concerning 45,000 individuals grappling with cannabis-use disorders.
Of particular concern is the impact on young people, as Prof Smyth revealed that those under 18 make up 80 percent of new cases seeking treatment for cannabis addiction.
Furthermore, Prof Smyth shed light on the hidden harm children living with parents struggling with drug addiction face.
In her address, Prof Smyth described drug use as "a significant public health problem in Ireland." She pointed to the troubling statistic of 409 drug-induced deaths in 2020 and noted that drug-related hospitalizations consume approximately 53,000 inpatient bed days yearly.
She also highlighted a steady rise in admissions to psychiatric services linked to drug-related causes, painting a grim picture of the evolving drug landscape in Ireland.
She said, "We know that the profile of drug users in Ireland has changed significantly over the last 30 years. Drug use can affect us all, from all social classes across every county in Ireland, but it affects those more severely in deprived areas."