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Statistics on Drugs Misuse: England, 2017

Publication date: 09:30 February 28, 2017


This statistical report presents a range of information on drug use by adults and children drawn together from a variety of sources. It focuses on England only where possible although some statistics are only readily available at GB or UK level or for England and Wales combined. Some of this is new information whilst some has been published previously.


More detail can be found in the source publications which contain a wider range of data and analysis.


Newly published data includes:

  • Analyses from NHS Digital Hospital Episode Statistics (HES).

The latest information from already published sources includes data from:

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) on deaths related to drug misuse.
  • National drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS).
  • Crime survey for England and Wales (CSEW).
  • Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS),
  • Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use (SDD).
  • What About Youth (WAY).

Key Facts

Drug misuse related hospital admissions (England)

  • In 2015/16 there were 8,621 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders. This is 6 per cent more than 2014/15 and 11 per cent higher than 2005/06.
  • There were 15,074 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs. This is 6 per cent more than 2014/15 and 51 per cent more than 2005/06.

Deaths related to drug misuse (England and Wales)

  • In 2015 there were 2,479 registered deaths related to drug misuse. This is an increase of 10 per cent on 2014 and 48 per cent higher than 2005.
  • Deaths related to drug misuse are at their highest level since comparable records began in 1993.

Drug use among adults (England and Wales)

  • In 2015/16, around 1 in 12 (8.4 per cent) adults aged 16 to 59 had taken an illicit drug in the last year. This equates to around 2.7 million people.
  • This level of drug use was similar to the 2014/15 survey (8.6 per cent), but is significantly lower than a decade ago (10.5 per cent in the 2005/06 survey).

Drug use among children (England)

  • In 2014, 15 per cent of pupils had ever taken drugs, 10 per cent had taken drugs in the last year and 6 per cent had taken drugs in the last month.
  • The prevalence of drug use increased with age. 6 per cent of 11 year olds said they had tried drugs at least once, compared with 24 per cent of 15 year olds.


Date Range: 01 April 2015 to 31 March 2016
Geographical coverage: England, England and Wales
Geographical granularity: Country, Local Authorities, Regions, UK and Great Britain

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