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Recorded crime

In 2019/20, there were around 175,000 drug offences recorded by the police in England and Wales. This is 13% higher than 2018/19. National totals exclude figures from Greater Manchester for the years ending March 2019 and 2020 and are not directly comparable with previous years.

Drug crime by police force area

Merseyside recorded the highest rate of drug offences 8.3 per 1,000 population 2Fin 2019/20, up from 6.1 in 2018/19.  Warwickshire had the lowest rate of 1.6 offences per 1,000 individuals (the same as 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%, while the proportion receiving a custodial sentence increased from 9% to 16%.

Hospital admissions

There were 13 hospital admissions per 100,000 population due to drug related mental and behavioural disorders in England in 2018/19, and 19 per 100,000 in Wales. In the same year, there were also 32 hospital admissions per 100,000 due to poisoning by drug misuse in England and 32 per 100,000 in Wales.

Drug related deaths

Drug related deaths have increased year on year from 2,652 in 2011 to 4,393 in 2019 (representing a 66% increase). Data prior to 2011 is not directly comparable. Between 2017 to 2018 (the most recent data available) saw the largest annual increase in deaths (16%) since the time series began.


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