The number of young people entering treatment for cocaine use increased by 171% between 2011 and 2019.
A new report from the Health Research Board has found that young people in Ireland rank second highest in Europe for the use of cocaine and ecstasy.
Over one-quarter of people aged between 15 and 24 have used illegal drugs before, with one-in-five having used them in the past year.
Cannabis remains the most used drug, despite the increase in the use of cocaine and ecstasy.
There report notes a 171% increase in young people receiving treatment for cocaine use between 2011 and 2019 - rising from 254 to 688.
Meanwhile there was an 83% increase in hospitalisations related to cocaine between 2015 and 2019.
Report author Anne Doyle told Newstalk there’s a very clear link between substance use and serious mental health issues.
“One of the key findings for the report really highlights the correlation between substance use and mental ill health,” she said.
“For example, we see a high incidence of sever anxiety among those with alcohol dependency as well as regular cannabis users being six times more likely to report poor mental health.”
The report also notes that adolescents are starting to drink alcohol at a later age and the number of young people who do not drink has increased from 11% in 2002 to 265 in 2019.
Despite this, one-in-three drinkers aged between 15 and 24-years-old has an alcohol use disorder.
Meanwhile, adolescents in Ireland rank seventh out of 35 European countries for reports of being drunk.
“One of the key findings is that adolescents are starting to drink alcohol at a later age and more young people are choosing not to drink; however, it also shows us that one-in-three young people are drinking in a harmful manner.”
She said exposure to alcohol advertising is one of the key risk factors for alcohol use among young people – as well parental substance use and introduction to alcohol at a young age.
The report also notes a strong link between substance abuse and crime - the vast majority (86%) of young people referred to probation services reporting drug or alcohol problems.
Tune in the Newstalk Breakfast for more on the report after 7am.