7 February 2018
NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures
Regional data available in this report
New NHS Digital data show that the hospital admissions2 for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders dropped by 12 per cent in a year, from 8,621 in 2015/16 to 7,545 in 2016/17. Admissions are still 12 per cent higher than 2006/07 when they totalled 6,743.
The report, Statistics on Drugs Misuse, England 2018, is an annual compendium of figures on drugs misuse in England, including hospital admissions, deaths and prevalence of drug use.
New figures from the Hospital Episode Statistics dataset in the report show that:
- Around a third of patients (33 per cent) admitted for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders fell into the 25 to 34 age group, with the next largest being the 35 to 44 age group (26 per cent).
- Around three in four (74 per cent) patients admitted were male
- Liverpool local authority had the highest rate of admissions, with 54 per 100,000 population, followed by Hull (51 per 100,000 population)3
The report also shows that:
- Hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs are highest in the 25 to 34 age group (3,232), followed by the 35 to 44 age group (2,958).
The number of deaths from drug misuse registered in England and Wales during 20164 shows that:
- There were 2,593 registered deaths, a five per cent increase on 2015 (2,479 registered deaths) and at the highest level since comparable records began in 1993 (831 registered deaths)
- Eighty per cent of these were due to accidental poisoning
- Sixty-one per cent of the registered deaths were for people aged between 30 and 49.
- Males made up 73 per cent of the registered deaths.
Prevalence5 data for adults covering England and Wales for 2016/17 shows that:
- 8.5 per cent of adults aged 16 to 59 have taken an illicit drug in the year prior to the survey. This is similar to the 2015/16 figure (8.4 per cent) and significantly lower than in 2006/07 (10.1 per cent).
- For 16 to 24 year olds, this figure rises to 19.2 per cent which again, is similar to last year (18.0 per cent) and significantly lower than a decade ago (24.2 per cent)
- Cannabis was the most commonly used drug, with 6.6 per cent of adults aged 16 to 59 having taken it in the year prior to the survey.
- New psychoactive substances (legal highs) were taken by 0.4 per cent of adults aged 16 to 59 and 1.2 per cent of adults aged between 16 and 24.
Prevalence data for children in England is also available in the report, which showed that cannabis was the most popular drug with 8 per cent of 11 to 15 year olds saying they had tried it in the year prior. This figure is derived from the 'smoking, drinking and drug use among young people, 2016' survey.
Read the full report
Follow us on Twitter: @NHSDigital