The cease-fires of 1994 marked the transition of Northern Ireland toward peace. Local media, public perception, and claims by "drug authorities" suggest an increase in drug use subsequent to the cease-fires. This article suggests that social problems in Northern Ireland must be understood in the context of wider political conflict and that the conflict affects all social phenomena. Therefore, the extent and patterning of drug use in young people in Northern Ireland are explored, linked to the major cease-fires. The historical influences of the key paramilitary groups are outlined in relation to their drug ideologies. Media and professional perceptions are examined alongside available evidence constructed from multiple indicators of drug use. Our review of the evidence suggests that it is incorrect to assume that most drug use has increased since the cease-fires. One notable exception to that general conclusion is that a heroin scene may be developing in Northern Ireland.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences(all)