The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on drug misuse is concerning.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales tells us that around 1 in 11 adults aged 16 to 59 years (9.2%; approximately 3 million adults) and around 1 in 5 adults aged 16 to 24 years (18.6%; approximately 1.1 million adults) reported last year drug use in the year ending June 2022. This was no change compared with the year ending March 2020.
A smaller number fortunately reported Class A drug use in the year ending June 2022; This was a significant decrease from the year ending March 2020 from 3.4% and 7.4%, respectively. The figures were 2.7% of adults aged 16 to 59 years and 4.7% of adults aged 16 to 24 years
There were no changes in last year drug use for the majority of individual drugs in the year ending June 2022 compared with the year ending March 2020 except for ecstasy and nitrous oxide.
The prevalence of ecstasy use fell from 1.4% to 0.7% in adults aged 16 to 59 years and from 4.0% to 1.1% in adults aged 16 to 24 years while prevalence of nitrous oxide use fell from 2.4% to 1.3% for adults aged 16 to 59 years and from 8.7% to 3.9% for adults aged 16 to 24 years.
Decreases in the use of Class A drugs, ecstasy and nitrous oxide may have been a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and government restrictions on social contact.
Some 2.6% of adults aged 16 to 59 years reported being frequent users of drugs (more than once a month in the past year) in the year ending June 2022. This was similar to the year ending March 2020 (2.1%).
Since estimates began in the year ending December 1995, cannabis has consistently been the most used drug in England and Wales; in the latest year, 7.4% and 16.2% of adults aged 16 to 59 years and 16 to 24 years, respectively, reported having used the drug in the last year; a similar level to the year ending March 2020 and the year ending March 2012; however, levels are much lower compared with the year ending December 1995.0 and 230,000 individuals, respectively; around half as many as reported use in the year ending March 2020.
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