10 Takeaways from the Latest Statistics on Drugs Misuse

by Abbie Llewelyn

Last week the government released the Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2018. The report outlines the latest statistics (gathered in 2016/17) about drug use in adults and children, drug-related hospital admissions, drug-related deaths and drug seizures by the police. Here are the 10 main takeaways from the report.

  1. Drug use in children has risen. 37% of 15 year olds have taken illicit drugs at least once in their life and 30% reported taking them in the last year.
  2. Drug use among adults is relatively stable. 8.5% of adults aged 16-59 in England and Wales have taken an illicit drug in the last year, similar to previous years.
  3. Cannabis is the most used illicit drug. 6.6% of adults 16-59 reported having smoked cannabis in the last year, along with 8% of pupils aged 11-15. 29% of adults in the UK have smoked cannabis at least once in their life (above the EU average of 26%).
  4. Drug-related deaths are at an all-time high. There were 2,593 drug-related deaths in 2016, a 5% increase from the previous year. 80% were due to accidental poisoning.
  5. Men aged 30-49 are dying at the highest rates. 61% of registered deaths were of people aged 30-49 and 73% of deaths were men.
  6. Drug dependency is more common in men and decreases with age. 4.3% of men showed signs of dependence, compared to 1.9% of women. Men aged 16-24 had the highest rate of dependence at 11.8%.
  7. Drug seizures have fallen. In 2016/17, there were 138,955 seizures of drugs, a 6% fall from 2015/16.
  8. Drug-related hospital admissions have fallen. There were 14,053 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs, down 7% from 2015/16. There were 7,545 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behaviour disorders, down 12% from 2015/16.
  9. Men are more likely to be admitted to hospital for a drug-related problem. 74% of hospital admissions were men.
  10. The North-West and North-East have the highest rate of drug-related hospital admission. This is the case for primary and secondary diagnoses of drug-related mental health and behaviour disorders and for a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs.

Words by Abbie Llewelyn. Tweets @Abbiemunch.

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