A Profile of Adolescent Cocaine Use in Northern Ireland.

Patrick McCrystal, Andrew Percy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The image of cocaine as a 'party' drug used by more affluent members of society has begun to change as the levels of use of the drug rise amongst school aged young people. Methods: Cocaine use patterns amongst young people aged 13-16 years who were participating in the Belfast Youth Development Study, a longitudinal study of adolescent drug use was explored. Data was collected through an annual datasweep in participating schools. This paper includes data collected in years 3, 4 and 5 of the study. Results: The results show higher levels of cocaine use amongst this age group than reported in much of the existing harm reduction literature. Lifetime use was 3.8% at age 13-14 years, rising to 7.5% at 15-16 years. The profile indicated that adolescent cocaine users were more likely to be female, live in disrupted families and experience social deprivation which is similar to existing adolescent drug use profiles. There was also some evidence of experimental cocaine use amongst the sample. Conclusions: These findings provide further evidence for the development of age appropriate school focused harm reduction initiatives and continued monitoring of contemporary trends of use of cocaine amongst school aged young people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-364
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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