New Chief Medical Officer says she has “great concern” over people using cannabis – – Our News, Your Views

New Chief Medical Officer says she has “great concern” over people using cannabis

Chief Medical Officer Breda Smith has expressed “great concern” about the use of cannabis in Ireland, reports RTE.

Breda Smith told the Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use that cannabis is the most common drug used by young people, and currently, 80% of people presenting to cannabis treatment centres are under 18 years of age.

Ms Smith described it as a “very concerning and a significant public health problem”, reports RTE.

The CMO told the gathering that 8% of the population uses cannabis and as many as 20% of them will develop drug use disorders.

When it comes to considering the issue of citizen gatherings related to drug use, the CMO stated that its concerns focus on the population as a whole from a public health perspective.

“This is giving a rise to increased schizophrenia in adolescents,” she said, reports RTE.

“It also gives rise to problems in our population, people having normal relationships and for people in their health and well-being,” she added, reports RTE.

The Citizens’ Assembly was asked to decriminalize possession of drugs in minimal quantities to prevent or reduce some of the harm caused directly by “the war on drugs and its toxic impact on policing.”

More than half of third-grade students use illegal drugs, a civic forum on drug use has learned.

UCC Head of Student Health Services, Dr Michael Byrne, told the audience that drug use among university students had increased during the first years of their studies.

A comprehensive study conducted by the university in 2021 shows that drug use is reported by one in six first-year students, one in five second-year students, and one in four third- and fourth-year students.

It was found that 54.7% of students reported using an illegal drug.

The drugs most frequently used by college students included marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. In all categories, men were more likely to use drugs.

Monthly drug users stated that, in addition to social interactions, drug use caused negative problems in their lives.

Only 7.1% said it had a positive impact on them, 53% said it had a negative impact, reports RTE.


Activist for the homeless, Fr. Peter McVerry, said he would like to see a reduction in drug use.

Noting that drugs entered the country 40 years ago, he told the Assembly that the criminal justice system was primarily focused on curbing drug use.

Despite this, he noted that there were large amounts of drugs in every village in Ireland.

“I’m all in favour of the health approach, treating the health problem. There is absolutely no evidence of financial fraud or misappropriation of funds, and secondly, we’re continuing to provide all the services we always did,” he said, reports RTE.

Drug driving

Driving under the influence of drugs in Ireland is almost the same as driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Professor at the Medical Office for Road Safety, Denise Cusack.

In 2022, MBRS received 5,662 blood and urine samples from drivers for alcohol and drug testing, of which 3,800 were tested for drugs.

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