Last Year Prevalence of Illegal Drug Use in England and Wales Among People Aged 16 to 59

"The 2018/19 CSEW shows that around 1 in 11 (9.4%) adults aged 16 to 59 had taken a drug in the last year, which equates to around 3.2 million people. The trend in the proportion of 16 to 59 year olds taking a drug in the last year was relatively flat between 1996 and 2003/04, followed by small year-onyear decreases until 2007/08. Since the 2009/10 survey, the proportion taking a drug in the last year has remained relatively flat, with the prevalence estimate remaining between 8.2 and 9.4 per cent. The 2018/19 estimate is similar to a decade ago in the 2008/09 CSEW (9.9%) and the 2007/08 CSEW (9.4%), but it is lower than all survey years before 2007/08. For further details see Appendix Tables 1.02 and 1.04.

"Figure 1.2 below shows the trend in Class A drug use in the last year among 16 to 59 year olds. According to the 2018/19 CSEW, 3.7 per cent of adults aged 16 to 59 had taken a Class A drug in the last year, equating to around 1.3 million people. There was a general upward trend in Class A drug use from 1996 (when the series began) until the 2008/09 survey which was then followed by a general downward trend until the 2011/12 survey (2.9%). Since 2011/12, the trend has reversed and has generally been upward, although the 2018/19 estimate was at a similar level to 2017/18 (3.5%). The increase in Class A drug use has been primarily driven by increases in powder cocaine and ecstasy use among 16 to 24 year olds. Trends in this broader age group tend to be driven by the 16 to 24 year old population where levels of drug use were substantially higher than among older adults (see Chapter 3)."


Drug Misuse: Findings from the 2018/19 Crime Survey for England and Wales. Statistical Bulletin 21/19. National Statistics. Home Office. 19 September 2019.