Drugs

The drugs market in Northern Ireland remains at a relatively low level in terms of suppliers and users. However it is still viewed by organised criminal gangs as an important source of income. In 2014/15 the PSNI seized drugs with an estimated street value of £13million and arrested 2,831 people for drug offences.

Cannabis
Northern Ireland now has a market which is dominated by herbal cannabis, both imported and locally produced. Large-scale sophisticated cannabis factories first emerged as an issue in Northern Ireland in 2007. Many of the factories discovered in the late 2000s were linked to organised crime groups of South East Asian origin but recently local organised crime groups have become involved with an increase co-operation between the different nationalities.

Cocaine & Amphetamines
Cocaine remains widely available in Northern Ireland and seizure trends would suggest a reduction in the market. An emerging threat is the high purity cocaine imported from South America which has become attracted to local crime gangs who can increase profits by cutting it themselves locally.
The amphetamines market appears to remain stable in Northern Ireland. Indicators show that amphetamines are more popular here than in other parts of the UK and there remains a market for ecstasy here. However, the rise in new synthetic drugs increase the risk of tablets being sold as ecstasy when they actually contain other substances.  

Heroin
The heroin market in Northern Ireland remains limited and seizures accounted for between 1% and 3% in the last five years. Heroin abuse remains contained within specific clusters of users however it remains the illicit drug most commonly mentioned on the death certificates from "drugs misuse" fatalities in Northern Ireland with 25 deaths recorded in 2013.

New Psychoactive Substances (Legal Highs)
Legal highs/new psychoactive substances is a trend that continues in Northern Ireland. Legal highs are usually bought from “head shops” or over the internet and are often branded “not for human consumption”. It is suspected that many substances packaged and sold as "legal highs" actually contain illicit substances and can have extremely serious impact on the user’s health.