Research and analysis

New opiate and crack-cocaine users: characteristics and trends

This report uses available data to estimate the number of new users of opiates and, or crack-cocaine (OCUs) between 2005 and 2013.

Documents

New opiate and crack-cocaine users: characteristics and trends

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New opiate and crack-cocaine users: characteristics and trends: data tables

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Details

This paper estimates that around 5,000 to 8,000 individuals may have started using opiates and, or crack-cocaine in 2013, which is down by about a fifth compared with 2005 and down hugely since the 1980s and 1990s when there was a large surge in new users of opiates and, or crack-cocaine (OCUs).

The data does suggest that the number of new OCUs may have flattened since around 2011, though there are no signs that it is set to turn upwards.

The report also finds evidence of a possible shift in certain characteristics of new OCUs, with more older initiates, and more individuals coming to treatment sooner in their drug-using careers.

Published 21 January 2016