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Recorded crime

In 2020/21, there were around 210,000 drug offences recorded by the police in England and Wales. This is 19% higher than 2019/20. National totals exclude figures from Greater Manchester for the years ending March 2019 through to March 2021 and are not directly comparable with previous years.

Drug crime by police force area

Merseyside recorded the highest rate of drug offences of 9.2 per 1,000 population in 2020/21, up from 8.3 in 2019/20. Staffordshire had the lowest rate of 1.4 offences per 1,000 individuals, 0.4 lower than the previous year.

Proven offences and offenders

In 2018/19, there were around 48,800 disposals given (cases dealt with) for drug offences. Between 2008/09 and 2018/19, the proportion of drug offenders receiving a caution fell from 46% to 30%. In the same decade, the proportion of drug offenders sentenced increased from 9% to 16%. Note 2018/19 is the latest available figures for caution data, due to the pandemic limiting the collection of data by the Ministry of Justice.

Hospital admissions

There were 12 hospital admissions per 100,000 population in England due to drug related mental and behavioural disorders in 2019/20, and 17 per 100,000 in Wales. In the same year, there were also 31 hospital admissions per 100,000 due to poisoning by drug misuse in England and 30 per 100,000 in Wales.

Drug related deaths

Drug related deaths have increased year on year from 2,652 in 2011 to 4,561 in 2020, a 72% increase. Data prior to 2011 is not directly comparable. Drug related deaths were 4% higher in 2020 compared to the previous year.

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