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Supplementary Material for: Comparing Cannabis Use Disorder in the General Population with Cannabis Treatment Seekers Using Multi-Source National Datasets: Who Receives Treatment?

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posted on 13.10.2021, 08:39 by Mongan D., Carew A.M., O’Neill D., Millar S.R., Lyons S., Galvin B., Smyth B.P.
Introduction: Given the increased prevalence of cannabis use in Ireland and increase in cannabis potency, this study aimed to estimate the size of the potential population in Ireland that may be in need of cannabis treatment and the percentage of people with cannabis use disorder (CUD) who actually access treatment. We also compared the profile of those with CUD in the general population to those who receive treatment for their cannabis use to explore whether certain subgroups are more or less likely to enter treatment. Method: This was a retrospective, multi-source database study. Data were obtained from (1) Ireland’s 2014/2015 national general population survey (GPS) on drug use and (2) treatment data from the Irish National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) for 2015. The profiles of GPS cases with CUD and NDTRS cases were compared using 2-sided t tests designed for independent samples. Results: The prevalence of last year cannabis use among adults aged 15 and older was 6.5% and the prevalence of CUD was 2.6%, representing 94,515 of the Irish population. A total of 4,761 cases entered treatment for problem cannabis use. NDTRS treatment cases were significantly more likely than GPS cases to be unemployed (63.7% vs. 26.6%) and have no or primary level only educational attainment (56.3% vs. 21.2%). Over half (53.3%) of NDTRS cases first used cannabis before the age of 15 years, compared to 14.7% of CUD cases in the population. Discussion/Conclusion: Our findings suggest that earlier users and those with more complex or disadvantaged lives are more likely to seek treatment. A broad population health approach that engages multiple sectors such as health, social welfare, and education is recommended to ensure that there is increased opportunity for people with CUD to be identified and signposted towards treatment.