A Dublin hospital had the third highest number of drug-related emergencies across 20 major hospitals in 14 European countries over the last two years.
Research conducted by the EU drugs agency shows the Mater Hospital had 1,083 such presentations to its emergency department between 2013 and 2015.
There were 526 cases between October 2013 and September 2014 and 557 between October 2014 and September 2015. It placed the Dublin hospital behind Oslo Emergency Outpatient Clinic and London St Thomas’ Hospital, but ahead of London King’s College Hospital and hospitals in Paris, Basel, Munich, Barcelona, and Copenhagen.
Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, meanwhile, had the second lowest number of emergencies, at 49 (36 in the first year and 13 in the second).
The research found that, of 10,956 emergencies overall, three-quarters involved males. Presentations were most common in the 20-39 age group, followed by the 30-39 cohort. The research, conducted by the European Drug Emergencies Network for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, found most presentations to hospitals were in the summer and at weekends.
The main illegal drugs —heroin, cocaine, and cannabis — accounted for 64% of emergencies, while prescription drugs took up 25% of cases.
New psychoactive substances (NPS) accounted for 7%, but rose from 5.6% in the first year to 8.5% in the following year. In the Mater, they made up more than 10%.
Heroin was by far the most common drug involved, although heroin-related numbers dropped between 2013 and 2015, as did cases which involved cocaine and cannabis. Numbers increased in cases of GHB (except Ireland, where it did not feature much), amphetamine, and mephedrone.
In 6% of cases, the people were admitted to critical care, while 4% were referred to a psychiatric ward.
The research identified 49 deaths, 23 from opioids, including 12 from heroin. Read More