Tranquilliser, sedative use on the rise

  • Deborah Condon

While the use of anti-depressants has remained largely the same in recent years, a new report has found that the use of sedatives and tranquillisers by Irish people is on the increase.

The figures are contained in a 2010/2011 Drug Prevalence Survey, which was commissioned by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD). The survey focused on antidepressants, which are used to treat depression and sedatives and tranquillisers, which are used to treat anxiety and sometimes to induce sleep.

According to the findings, in 2010/2011, 14% of adults, aged 15-64, had used sedatives and tranquilliser drugs in their lifetime, an almost 4% increase since 2007.

A further 7% had used them in the last year, compared to 5% in 2007.

Meanwhile some 10% of adults in 2010/2011 had used antidepressants in their lifetime, while 5% had used them in the last year. These figures were largely the same as 2007.

The report noted that the use of tranquillisers and sedatives tends to be higher among older people - those aged 35-64 - and women. The average age that people first took these types of drugs was 30 years and the main way people accessed them was via prescription.

The report also found that use of these drugs was highest among people who are dependent on the State and those in professional and higher managerial positions.

In relation to antidepressants, use was again higher among women and those aged 35-64. It was also found to be higher among professionals and those dependent on the State. In fact, antidepressant use was highest among those who left school by the time they were 15.


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