Today the House of Commons debates UK drugs policy. This post considers statistics on drug use in England and Wales, looking at data from the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales. Datasets for Scotland and Northern Ireland are produced separately by the devolved administrations.
According to the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales, just over 3% of people aged 16-59 reported using a Class A drug within the last year. Almost 9% report having used any drug in the last year.
Percentage reporting drug use in the last year, 2013/14
Drug use is higher among men than women. Although overall use of drugs has declined since 1996, use of Class A drugs has not. Note that since this data is based on a survey, small changes between years may be due to sample error rather than a genuine trend.
Percentage reporting drug use in the last year by gender, 1996-2014
Drug use is most prevalent among those aged 20-24. Use has fallen since 1996 among 16-29 year olds, but risen among 35-44 year olds.
Percentage reporting drug use in the last year by age, 1996-2014
On a regional basis, drug use – both overall and Class A – is highest in London. Use in the North West is also above average.
Percentage reporting drug use in last year by region, 2013/14
Drug use is most common among those of lower household incomes. There is no significant difference between middle and high incomes in terms of drug use.
Percentage reporting drug use in last year by household income, 2013/14
Further analysis, commentary and more detailed data can be found in the Home Office’s commentary on the findings on drug use taken from the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales.