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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Statistics on Drug Misuse - England, 2007

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
England, Wales
Geographical Granularity:
Local Authorities, Regions, Country, Government Office Regions
Date Range:
01 Jan 2001 to 31 Dec 2006


For the first time, this annual statistical bulletin presents information on drug misuse among both adults and children. The topics covered include:

  • prevalence of drug misuse, including the types of drugs used
  • trends in drug misuse over recent years
  • patterns of drug misuse among different groups of the population, including 'vulnerable groups'
  • european comparisons of drug misuse
  • drugs and crime
  • health outcomes related to drug misuse including hospital admissions, drug treatment and deaths related to drug misuse.

The bulletin also summarises Government plans and targets in this area, as well as providing sources of further information and links to relevant documents.

Key Facts

Among adults aged 16 to 59 living in England and Wales

  • In 2005/06, 10.5 per cent of adults had used one or more illicit drug in the last year, a decrease from 12.1 per cent in 1998.
  • 6.3 per cent had used an illicit drug in the last month, a fall from 7.1 per cent in 1998.
  • The use of any Class A drug in the last year has increased, from 2.7p er cent in 1998 to 3.4 per cent in 2005/06, mainly due to a rise in the use of cocaine powder.
  • Men are more likely to take illicit drugs than women, 13.7 per cent of men compared with 7.4 per cent of women took drugs in the last year.
  • People living within the South West Government Office Region reported higher levels of any illicit drug use, compared to the total for England and Wales. For Class A drugs, the highest levels were found among those living in London.
  • For younger adults aged 16 to 24, drug use in the last year fell between 1998 and 2005/06, from 31.8 per cent to 25.2 per cent , whilst the use of Class A drug use has remained stable.

Among children aged 11 to 15 living in England

  • In 2006, 9 per cent of pupils reported taking drugs in the last month, a fall from 11 per cent in 2005. While the proportion of pupils reporting taking drugs in the last month has fluctuated in recent years, overall it has fallen from 12 per cent in 2001.
  • In 2006, 17 per cent of pupils reported taking drugs in the last year, a fall from 19 per cent in 2005. Again this has fluctuated since 2001 when it was 20 per cent .
  • 4 per cent of pupils said that they took drugs at least once a month in 2006, a decrease from 6 per cent in 2005.
  • Similar to previous years, drug use increases with age; among 11 year olds 3 per cent reporting taking drugs in the last month compared with 17 per cent of 15 year olds.
  • For 15 year olds, 29 per cent reported taking drugs in the last year and 8 per cent said they used drugs at least once a month.
  • Similar proportions of boys and girls took drugs in the last year, but boys were more likely to have taken drugs in the last month.
  • 4 per cent of pupils reported using any Class A drug in the last year, a figure unchanged since 2001.
  • Cannabis was the drug most commonly taken during 2006, when 10.1 per cent of pupils reported using the drug. This proportion is lower than 2001, when the proportion was 13.4 per cent.
  • As in previous years, pupils who said they had truanted or been excluded were more likely to have taken drugs in the last month compared to those who had not truanted or been excluded (11 per cent compared to 1 per cent).
  • Among pupils who had truanted or been excluded from school, the proportion who took drugs at least once a month is lower than in previous years. The level of regular drug taking among this group was 20 per cent in 2003, 16 per cent in 2004, 17 per cent in 2005 and 11 per cent in 2006.
  • In 2005, 39 per cent of pupils reported ever been offered drugs.
  • For 15 year olds, 52 per cent reported ever being offered cannabis with 18 per cent having ever been offered cocaine and ecstasy.
  • Awareness of illicit drugs among pupils is high. In 2005 over 90 per cent had heard of cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
  • A third of pupils (33 per cent) thought it would be easy to obtain illegal drugs.
  • European figures show that 38 per cent of 15 and 16 year olds in the UK had tried cannabis – one of the highest rates among 35 European countries.

Health Outcomes

  • In England in 2005/06 there were 8,113 Finished Consultant Episodes (FCE's) with a primary diagnosis of a drug related mental health and behavioural disorder, a number that has remained relatively stable over the last ten years. Where there was a secondary diagnosis recorded, in 2005/06 there were 38,364 FCEs compared with 13,285 in 1996/97 of such admissions.
  • Where a primary diagnosis of poisoning by drugs was recorded, 11,260 FCEs were reported during 2005/06, a 50 per cent increase from 1996/97 when the number of such admissions was 7,440.
  • During 2005/06 181,390 people were in contact with structured drug treatment services. This is a 13 per cent increase on figures during 2004/05, where the number was 160,453 and more than twice the number in 1998/99.
  • In 2004/05, a larger number of men accessed treatment services than women (114,598 men compared to 45,852 women).
  • Overall, heroin was the main drug for which people received treatment (64 per cent of all treatments), whilst for clients aged under 18, it was cannabis (67 per cent).
  • The total number of deaths related to drug misuse in England and Wales increased from 829 in 1993 to 1805 in 2001 and was 1608 in 2005, an increase from 1495 in 2004.


Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:21 pm