Ireland is the fourth highest cocaine user in the EU

In 2015, over 200 cases of drug related deaths were recorded

Ireland has one of the highest death rates per capita for drug consumption in the European Union (EU).

New figures for 2015 show that cocaine use in Ireland among 15-34 years olds is the fourth highest in the EU.

Ireland has the second highest rate of ecstasy use per capita just behind the Netherlands.

"Ireland has the third highest drug related deaths in the EU, with 213 cases recorded in 2015," Eoin O'leary of the European Commission said.

Decriminalisation

The Seanad is set to debate the decriminalisation of the possession of controlled drugs for personal use.

A Private Members’ Bill in Seanad Éireann entitled the 'Controlled Drugs and Harm Reduction Bill 2017', will be introduced by Independent Senator for Trinity College Lynn Ruane.

The bill would establish a Drug Dissuasion Service to case-manage persons found in possession of controlled drugs and divert people away from the courts.

It would also establish a system of harm reduction measures including drug awareness, drug rehabilitation and community engagement programmes.

Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, who is seconding the legislation, said: "This is one of the most important bills that this Oireachtas will see.

"We are putting humanity back into our drugs policy and recognising addiction is about disconnection, it’s not just about drugs."