Ireland Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related emergencies

In Ireland, data on drug-related acute emergencies refer to all admissions to acute general hospitals with non-fatal overdoses and are extracted from the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry scheme. The long-term trend shows a decrease in overdose cases in the last decade, from 5 012 cases in 2005 to 4 233 in 2016. In 2016, more than a third of individuals overdosing were younger than 25 years and 6 out of 10 of those admitted to hospital were female. More than one third of the non-fatal hospital drug-related emergencies were linked to non-opioid analgesics (mainly paracetamol), while psychotropic substances were present in one quarter of cases and benzodiazepines in less than one fifth.

Emergency departments in two Irish hospitals, in Dublin and Drogheda, participate in the European Drug Emergencies Network (Euro-DEN Plus) project, which was established in 2013 to monitor acute drug toxicity in sentinel centres across Europe.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.