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Ireland: national report for 2016 - harms and harm reduction.


Health Research Board. Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Subject Keywords: Drugs, Alochol
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

reland maintains a special register that is a complete census of all drug-induced deaths in the country. Established in 2005, the National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI), which is maintained by the Health Research Board (HRB), is an epidemiological database that records cases of death by drugs poisoning, as well as deaths among drug users in Ireland, extending back to 1998.

Data on drug-related acute emergencies in the Irish context refer to all admissions to acute general hospitals with non-fatal overdoses and are extracted from the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) scheme.

Newly diagnosed cases of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). Notification data for 2016 are included in this workbook.

The number of drug-induced deaths remained stable in 2015, at 224, compared to 223 deaths in 2014. The majority of those who died were male, aged in their thirties. Opiates were the most common drug associated with most drug-induced deaths as per the EMCDDA Filter D inclusion criteria.

The number of overdose cases admitted to Irish hospitals decreased from 4,256 in 2014. Trends over time show a general decrease in overdose cases, falling from 5,012 cases in 2005 to 3,956 cases in 2015.

Recent trends indicate that the number of cases of HBV and HCV diagnosed and reported in the Republic of Ireland is stabilising rather than continuing to decline. There has also been an overall increase in the number of reported HIV cases; the increased number of people who inject drugs (PWID) among HIV cases reported since 2014 was due to an outbreak of HIV among homeless drug users in Dublin.

Harm reduction services available in Ireland include needle exchanges from fixed sites, mobile units and outreach work provided by regional authorities and community-based organisations. In addition, there are pharmacies providing needle exchanges in each local and regional drug and alcohol task force (RDTF) area within Ireland apart from those covering counties Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow. At the end of 2016, there were 111 pharmacies providing needle exchanges, and an average of 1,614 individuals used pharmacy needle exchanges each month in 2016.





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Health Research Board. Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2017) Ireland: national report for 2016 - harms and harm reduction. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 20th November 2019].


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