There has been massive reduction in the numbers of young people addicted to heroin, compared to the numbers at the height of the drug epidemic in the 90s.
In 1996, there were 180 adolescents treated for heroin addiction every year in Dublin.
A National Drug Strategy was launched in 2000 which lead to a 94% reduction in these figures by 2014. The research stated this decline has continued in recent years.
By 2018 a drug programme set up to treat young people addicted to heroin was shut down. According to the researchers, this was due to a lack of patients.
The authors said: “It seems remarkable to us that the near elimination of new cases of adolescent heroin dependence has been so completely ignored in the ongoing discourse about drug policy in Ireland.”
The research paper was published this month in the Irish Medical Journal by Dr Bobby Smyth and Dr Gerry McCarney.