Drug addiction statistics

Drug misuse and addiction continues to be an ongoing problem in the UK. Whether you’re addicted to legal prescription drugs, or illicit substances such as cocaine and heroin, drug addiction can wreak havoc on lots of different areas of your life and can have a negative impact on society as a whole. However, drug addiction is treatable and it’s possible for you to take steps towards recovery.

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Here, we outline some key UK drug addiction statistics for the years 2019-2020, taken from public surveys conducted by the NHS and the UK Government. We also provide more information on the drug addiction treatment that’s available.

 

 

UK drug-related hospital admissions

Research suggests that:

  • In 2019/20, there were 7,027 hospital admissions for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders. Admissions were around five times more likely in the most deprived areas, compared to the least deprived areas
  • In 2019/20, there were 16,994 hospital admissions for poisoning by drug misuse. Admissions were around five times more likely in the most deprived areas, compared to the least deprived areas
  • In 2019/20, there were 99,782 hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental and behavioural disorders. Admissions were around eight times more likely in the most deprived areas, compared to the least deprived areas
  • More men than women were admitted to hospital for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders (73% male vs 27% female). However, there were similar proportions of men and women admitted to hospital due to poisoning by drug misuse
  • Admission levels for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders, and for poisoning by drug misuse, were highest for younger people (apart from those under 16), peaking between ages 25 and 34

UK drug-related deaths

Research suggests that:

  • In 2020, 4,561 deaths related to drug poisoning were registered in England and Wales, an increase of 3.8% vs 2019
  • Among males, there were 3,108 drug poisoning deaths compared with 1,453 deaths among females
  • Two-thirds (or 2,996) of registered drug poisoning deaths in 2020 were related to drug misuse
  • The 45 to 49 year age bracket had the highest rates of drug-misuse deaths in 2020
  • 2,263 drug poisoning deaths in the UK in 2020 involved an opiate (approximately half of all drug poisoning deaths)
  • 777 drug poisoning deaths in the UK in 2020 involved cocaine

Drug-taking habits in the UK³

Research suggests that:

  • An estimated 1 in 11 adults aged 16 to 59 years had taken some form of drug in the year ending March 2020
  • Around one in five young adults aged 16 to 24 years had taken some form of drug in the year ending March 2020
  • An estimated 1% of 60 to 74 year olds had taken some form of drug in the year ending March 2020
  • 4% of adults aged 16 to 59 years (approximately 1.1 million people) had taken a Class A drug in the year ending March 2020
  • 4% of young adults aged 16 to 24 years (approximately 467,000 people) had taken a Class A drug in the year ending March 2020
  • 1% of adults aged 16 to 59 years and 4.3% of young adults aged 16 to 24 years were classed as “frequent” drug users (had taken a drug more than once a month in the year ending March 2020)

Types of drugs used in the UK³

Cannabis

  • Cannabis is consistently the most commonly used drug in the UK
  • 8% of adults aged 16-59 and 18.7% of young adults aged 16-24 reporting using cannabis in the last year
  • There was no significant change in the prevalence of cannabis use in the last year compared with the previous year

Cocaine

  • The second most commonly used drug among adults in the UK last year was powder cocaine, with 2.6% of 16-59 year olds reporting using this drug
  • Powder cocaine was the third most commonly used drug amongst young adults, with 5.3% of 16-24 year olds reporting use, behind cannabis (18.7%) and nitrous oxide (8.7%)
  • Use of powder cocaine didn’t change significantly from the year ending March 2019

Nitrous oxide

  • Nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) was the second most prevalent drug among young adults aged 16-24 (after cannabis), with 8.7% reporting use
  • Nitrous oxide was the third most prevalent drug among adults aged 16-59 (after cannabis and cocaine), with 2.4% reporting use
  • Use of nitrous oxide has not changed significantly for the last four years

New psychoactive and illicit substances

  • 3% of adults aged 16-59 reported using new psychoactive and illicit substances in the year ending March 2020
  • 3% of young adults aged 16-24 reported using new psychoactive and illicit substances in the year ending March 2020
  • Young adults account for a disproportionally large proportion of new psychoactive and illicit substances users, around 71%. This is greater than the other main drugs types
  • Use of new psychoactive and illicit substances didn’t change significantly from the year ending March 2019

Ecstasy

  • 4% of adults aged 16-59 reported using ecstasy in the year ending March 2020
  • 4% of young adults aged 16-24 reported using ecstasy in the year ending March 2020
  • Ecstasy use didn’t change significantly from the year ending March 2019

Treatment for Drug Addiction

At Manor Clinic, based in Southampton, we understand that drug addictions can have a devastating impact on your life and the lives of those that are closest to you. However, you don’t have to suffer with drug dependency; specialist drug rehab is available and we can support you on your journey to recovery.

Our world class Addiction Treatment Programme offers:

  • A free, no obligation addiction assessment
  • A 28-day inpatient (residential) stay, where you’ll receive round-the-clock care
  • A medically assisted detoxification, if this is required, to help you withdraw from drugs in a safe and controlled environment
  • A structured group therapy programme, delivered by highly experienced therapists
  • A specialist family programme, supporting your loved ones who may have been affected by your drug misuses
  • Access to 12-Step support groups, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
  • A beautiful hospital environment complete with private en-suite bedrooms, relaxing and welcoming living areas, an on-site chef, and private landscaped gardens, providing the perfect setting for rehabilitation and recovery
  • Free addiction aftercare for life
  • Free family support for life

You don’t have to struggle with a drug addiction; we can help you get your life back on track.

¹https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-drug-misuse/2020

²https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsrelatedtodrugpoisoninginenglandandwales/2020

³https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/drugmisuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2020