The Department of Justice (DOJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin 8/2017 ‘Views on Alcohol and Drug Related Issues: Findings from the October 2016 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey’.

The findings provide information to assist in measuring progress with two Northern Ireland Executive strategies: (i) Building Safer, Shared and Confident Communities – A Community Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012-2017 and (ii) the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs Phase 2 2011-16.

Results from the October 2016 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey (NIOS) found that 43.3% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I am concerned about alcohol related issues in my local area’.  This compares to 40.3% of respondents who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement.

Just over two fifths of respondents (42.9%) agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I am concerned about drug related issues in my local area’ compared with 37.5% who disagreed or strongly disagreed.

The most cited primary reason given for those reporting concern about alcohol related issues in the local area was ‘underage drinking’ (59.1%). The most cited secondary issue for respondents in relation to alcohol was ‘drinking in public places’ (33.1%).  For drug related issues, 55.0% of respondents stated ‘drug use/abuse’ was the primary drug related issue in the local area.  The most cited secondary issue for respondents in relation to drugs was ‘drug dealing’ (43.6%).

Four fifths of respondents (82.4%) stated there was no change in the level of alcohol related issues in their local area in the last 12 months.  A similar proportion of respondents (80.0%) stated there was no change in the level of drug related issues in their local area in the last 12 months.

Of those respondents who reported having approached a body or representative in the last year, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was the most likely organisation to be approached for both an alcohol (64.9%) and a drug (52.8%) related issue in their local area.

Just over one in eleven respondents (8.8%) had heard of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs Phase 2, 2011-16.

Taking everything into account, 9.4% of respondents expressed a lot or total confidence that enough is being done to tackle alcohol and/or drug related issues across Northern Ireland and 43.4% expressed some confidence, while 47.2% had little or no confidence.

Respondents expressed higher levels of confidence in the PSNI’s work to tackle alcohol and/or drug related issues across Northern Ireland than that of any other organisation, with 25.9% of respondents having a lot or total confidence and 49.9% having some confidence.

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