Only Leitrim has a worse record, a report by the Health Research Board (HRB) says.
The number of people aged 15 to 64 treated per 100,000 of the population in Co Donegal between 2005-2007 was 256. (Sligo was higher at 281. Leitrim was 243).
But between 2008-2010, the number of people per 100,000 in Donegal rocketed to 299. (Sligo was slighly higher and the worst in the country at 301.)
Says the report: “In the period 2008–2010 the incidence rates were highest in Waterford, Leitrim, Donegal, Sligo, Tipperary and Wexford (with over 200 cases per 100,000), followed by Carlow, Longford, Kerry and Westmeath (with between 150 and 199 cases).
“While the incidence rates were low in a number of counties (with less than 100 cases per 100,000), Wicklow, Clare, Laois, Dublin and Roscommon had the lowest incidence rates during the three-year period.”
Key national findings from the report include:
- 42,333 cases were treated for problem alcohol use in the six-year period. There were 5,525 cases in 2005 which rose to 7,866 cases in 2010, an increase of 43%.
- 22,626 (53%) were new cases who had come for treatment for the first time, while 18,396 (44%) were treated previously.
- 61% increase in cases who had been treated previously, from 2, 229 cases in 2005 to 3,583 cases in 2010.
- Half of all cases treated were aged 39 years or younger.
- 145% increase in new cases aged under 18, from 109 cases in 2005 to 267 cases in 2010.
- Half of all cases treated had started drinking alcohol by the time they were 16.
- 50% of new cases had used alcohol for 19 years or more before seeking treatment.
- 40% of cases were drinking on a daily basis.
- The proportion of all cases in employment fell from 39% in 2005 to 24% in 2010.
Dr Suzi Lyons, senior researcher at the HRB said: ‘The number of recorded cases treated for problem alcohol use increased over the six years due to an increase in reporting to the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) but it is also likely that it reflects a true increase in the number of people requiring treatment for problem alcohol use.
“Given that some treatment services are yet to participate in the reporting system, the figures underestimate the true extent of treated alcohol use in Ireland.
“While one out of every two cases treated for problem substance use in Ireland between 2005 and 2010 were treated for alcohol, many of those also had problems with other drugs.
Dr Lyons adds: “What we see is that almost one in five of those treated for alcohol also have problems with other drugs, with cannabis being the most common followed by cocaine, ecstasy and benzodiazepines. Poly drug misuse presents a challenge for treatment services.”
You can read the full report at www.hrb.ie.
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