Research and analysis

Measuring different aspects of problem drug use: methodological developments

This report brings together the results of three studies which provide updated estimates of the size of the illegal drug use problem.

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Home Office Online Report 16/06 brings together the results of three studies which provide robust updated estimates of the size of the illegal drug use problem, from different perspectives. The new studies build on earlier studies but all contain significant improvements which mean that the new, more robust estimates are not comparable with the results from the earlier work. They have been designed to allow updating in the future and to serve as a baseline for monitoring trends.

  • Chapter 2 Local and national estimates of the prevalence of opiate use and/or crack cocaine use, 2004/05, reports the results of a study to provide estimates of the prevalence of problem opiate and/or crack cocaine use at the local, Government Office Region and national level in England for 2004/05. Estimates of the prevalence of opiate use, crack cocaine use and the injecting of drugs (by users of opiates and/or crack cocaine) are also presented. Two prevalence estimation methods were used; the capture-recapture method and the multiple indicator method.
  • Chapter 3 The economic and social costs of Class A drug use in England and Wales, 2003/04 uses the new national estimate of the number of problematic drug users and other new sources of data to provide robust updated estimates of the economic and social costs of Class A drug use.
  • Chapter 4 Estimating the size of the UK illicit drug market, reports the results from a study which uses a survey-based demand side approach to estimate the size of the UK market for cannabis, amphetamines, ecstasy, powder cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.