Phone numbers
Treatment enquiries: 023 8046 4721
Make An Enquiry

Drug addiction statistics in the UK

In 2018, 4,359 people died from drug poisoning in the UK.¹ Of these deaths, 2,917 were from drug misuse, which was an increase of 17% from the previous year.

Using the latest public surveys conducted by the NHS, Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Government, Manor Clinic has compiled the key statistics on drug use and misuse in the UK. 

UK drug use statistics in the UK

Research carried out over the last three years suggests that:

  • During 2018/19, 9.4% of adults surveyed, between the ages of 16 to 59 had taken an illicit drug ²
  • In 2018/19, 20.3% of young adults, within the ages range of 16 to 24, had taken an illicit drug ²
  • In 2018/19, there were 7,376 hospital admissions recorded for drug related mental and behavioural disorders ²
  • A higher frequency of visits to pubs and nightclubs in 2018/19 was linked to a higher occurrence of drug use ³
  • In 2018/19, 9.8% of people living in urban areas were more likely to have taken any drug than 7.7% of those living in rural areas ³
  • People with lower levels of happiness were more likely to have taken drugs than those with higher levels of happiness ³

Drug misuse statistics in the UK

Research over the last three years suggests that:

  • In 2018/19, approximately 3.2 million people in the UK, who were between the ages of 16 to 59, had taken a drug, which equates to around 1 in 11 adults ³
  • In the same age category, around 1.3 million people had taken a Class A drug in 2018/19, which equates to around 1 in 25 adults. ³
  • In 2018/19, approximately 1.3 million young people in the UK had taken a drug, which would be around 1 in 5 young adults aged between 16 to 24³
  • 7% within the young adult age bracket had taken a Class A drug in 2018/19. (UK Gov)
  • In 2018/19, 18,053 hospital admissions were recorded as poisoning by drug misuse ²
  • In the same year, the number of deaths due to poisoning by drug misuse was recorded at 2,917 people ²

Types of drugs used in the UK

Over the past three years, research suggests that the most commonly used drugs are cannabis, cocaine and nitrous oxide. We have broken down some key statistics on these different types of drugs below:

Cannabis use statistics:

  • In 2018/19, cannabis was the most commonly used drug in the UK ³
  • Around 2.6 million people used cannabis in 2018/19. This figure equates to 7.6% of adults aged between 16 to 59 ³
  • Cannabis was the most commonly used drug by young adults, with around 1.1 million people having used it in 2018/19. This figure equates to 17.3 % of young adults aged 16 to 24 ³

Cocaine use statistics in the UK:

  • In 2018/19, cocaine was the second most commonly used drug in the UK³
  • Around 976,000 people used powder cocaine in 2018/19. This figure equates to 2.9% adults aged between 16 to 59 ³
  • Cocaine was the third most commonly used drug by young adults in the UK, with around 395,000 people having used it in 2018/19. This figure equates to 6.2% of young adults aged 16 to 24 ³

Nitrous oxide use statistics in the UK

  • In 2018/19, nitrous oxide was the third most commonly used drug in the UK ³
  • Around 763,000 people used nitrous oxide in 2018/19. This figure equates to 2.3% adults aged between 16 to 59 ³
  • Nitrous oxide was the second most commonly used drug among young adults in the UK, with around 552,000 young people having used it in 2018/19. This figure equates to 8.7% young adults aged between 16 to24. ³

Other drugs use statistics:

  • In 2018/19, the proportion of 16 to 59 year olds using ecstasy, compared to previous years, was relatively flat, with figures fluctuating between only 1 and 2 % ³
  • In 2018/19, Ketamine use had increased from a decade ago across both age groups ³
  • In 2018/19, Amphetamines use has decreased among both 16 to 59 and 16 to 24 year olds ³
  • Around 53,000 young men aged between 16 to 24 were the most prevalent users of new psychoactive substances (NPS), with 1.6 % using NPS in 2018/19.³

At Manor Clinic, we understand that drug misuse and addiction can cause destruction in all areas of a person’s life, and the lives of those around them. Addiction can have a profoundly negative effect on an addict’s mental and physical health, emotions, social capability, and can also impact everyday activity.

In supporting our patients on the road to recovery, we provide an addiction treatment programme based on the world-renowned 12-Step treatment philosophy, which is an abstinence-based approach. Essentially, the 12-Step model outlines a set of guiding principles for the addiction treatment journey and focuses on an individual’s motivation to change their destructive habits.

Share this image on your site

Please include attribution to https://www.themanorclinic.com with this graphic.

<a href='https://www.themanorclinic.com/blog/drug-addiction-statistics-in-the-uk'><img src='https://www.themanorclinic.com/media/597106/drug-use-uk-the-manor-clinic.png' alt='Drug misuse in the UK' width='100%' border='0' /></a>

Sources

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/drug-health-harms-national-intelligence/national-intelligence-network-on-drug-health-harms-briefing-december-2019

[2] https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-drug-misuse/2019

[3] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/832533/drug-misuse-2019-hosb2119.pdf

Can't find what you're looking for?
Contact us by phone: 023 8046 4721 or Make An Enquiry