Prevalence of Last-Year Illegal Drug Use in England and Wales Among People Aged 15 to 59

"The 2014/15 CSEW shows that around 1 in 12 (8.6%) adults aged 16 to 59 had taken an illicit drug in the last year, which equated to around 2.8 million people. This proportion is similar to the 2013/14 survey (8.8%), and to the 2011/12 survey (9.0%). This relative stability of the trend on either side of the 2012/13 survey figures suggests that the low point observed in the 2012/13 survey (8.1%) may be an outlier, likely to have occurred due to random sampling variability. The trend since the 2009/10 survey has fluctuated between eight and nine per cent, but has remained relatively flat, so levels of drug use are generally stable.
"This follows a period of gradually decreasing proportions from a peak in 2003/04 (12.2%). Prior to 2003/04, the proportion remained broadly flat at around 12 per cent.
"According to the 2014/15 CSEW, 3.2 per cent of adults aged 16 to 59 had taken a Class A drug in the last year, equivalent to just over one million people. The long-term trend in Class A drug use has been broadly stable over the last few years, although there has been some fluctuation. Since 2009/10, the only statistically significant changes were the fall in 2012/13 and the subsequent rise in 2013/14, showing a return to the previous level. However, the current level of last year Class A drug use is significantly higher than in 1996, when 2.7 per cent of adults used Class A drugs. This change is largely accounted for by a significant increase in cocaine use (from 0.6% to 2.4%), offset by a significant fall in the use of hallucinogens (from 1.3% to 0.7%). For further detailed figures, see Tables 1.02 and 1.04."


"Drug Misuse: Findings from the 2014/15 Crime Survey for England and Wales" (London, England: Home Office Statistics Unit, July 2015), p. 2.