The latest drug misuse figures (2015/16)

Drug-related hospital admissions soar

Last week (28 February 2017) the NHS with the Office for National Statistics published the latest information about drug misuse in England and Wales. The main findings are summarised below in both bullet points and images. The headlines are:

  • Hospital admissions for drug-related mental health up 11% over the last decade
  • Hospital admissions for overdoses (technically poisoning by illicit drugs) up 51% over the decade and 6% on last year
  • Drug-related deaths at an all time high. 2,479 individuals lost their lives through their drug use in 2015.
  • The level of adult drug misuse has stabilised and is down by about a quarter compared to a decade ago

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.

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