Drug abuse facts

The following statistics give insight into the abuse of illicit drugs. We have put together a list of interesting statistics from various reputable sources. Please also see our guides to drug addiction for further and more in depth information.

Drug abuse facts

• Findings indicate that in England in 2009 around 250,000 11-15 year olds had taken drugs (including glue, gas and other volatile substances) in the last month and around 450,000 had taken drugs in the last year. (Source: NHS Information Centre – Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2009)

• The number of heroin users doubled every four years during the 1990s. (Source: Centre for Reform – Heroin. The Failure of Prohibition and What To Do Now", 2001)

• The UK is believed to consume approximately 25 to 35 tonnes of heroin a year.  (Source: National Criminal Intelligence Service – UK Threat Assessment, 2003)

• In 2002 the UK had the highest level of drug-related deaths in Europe.

(Source: Drugscope report for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2002-03)

• The number of deaths from opiate overdoses in England and Wales more than doubled in the 1990s, from less than 400 in 1993 to nearly 1,000 in 2000. (Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Prescribing Heroin: what is the evidence?, 2003)

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