Cannabis is the most popular illegal drug in Ireland

27.9% of respondents aged between 15-64 have used the drug

Cannabis is the most popular illegal drug in Ireland

File photo of plants in a cannabis farm | Image: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cannabis is the most popular illegal drug in Ireland, according to a report published earlier today.

The information was released after a joint study by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) and the Public Health Information and Research Branch of the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.

Cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal drug with 27.9% of respondents aged 15-64 having ever used the drug.

However, there was a significant drop in pyschoactive substances with a 2.7% drop from 2010/11 figures to 0.8%.

Speaking at the release of the figures, Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne said: "These new survey findings suggest that there is a continuing need for preventative measures under the National Drugs Strategy that focus on young people, particularly young men, their families and communities and that take account of the gendered nature of substance use.”

The key finding of the report is that levels of illegal drug use have risen in Ireland between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

Another concerning finding of the report saw a significant increase in cocaine use - 4.4% of 15-34 year olds admitted using the drug, up from 0.9% in 2010/11.

In the 25-34 year old age group, 22.7% of males and 10.4% of females report ever using ecstasy. 

For the first time, prevalence of gambling in Ireland was included in the survey with 64.5% of respondents aged 15 or older reported gambling in the 12 months prior to the survey and 41.4% of respondents reported gambling in the 30 days prior to the survey.