News story

Drug use at lowest ever level

Report shows falls in people taking illegal substances, including Class A drugs and cannabis. Drugs use now at lowest level since records began

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Drugs use at lowest level

Drug use in England and Wales is at the lowest level since records began, according to a Home Office report published today (25 July).

An estimated 8.2% of 16 to 59-year-olds used an illicit drug in the last year – compared with 11.1% in 1996, according to the report, Drug Misuse: Findings from the 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales.

The proportion of adults who took a Class A drug has dropped from 3% in 2011/12 to 2.6%.

Public attitudes

New questions in the 2012/13 survey reveal the public’s concerns about drug-taking too. Almost four out of five (79%) of respondents thought taking cannabis was unsafe.

Two-thirds thought it was never acceptable to take cannabis and the vast majority said it was unsafe to take heroin, cocaine or ecstasy (99%, 97% and 97% respectively).

Jeremy Browne, Crime Prevention Minister, said:

Today’s report shows drug usage in England and Wales is at its lowest level since records began.

This, coupled with the record number of people leaving drug treatment programmes free from dependency, is really positive news.

Crime survey

The statistics are based on results from the 2012-13 Crime Survey for England and Wales with interviews with around 21,000 adults aged 16-59.

Published 25 July 2013