Prevalence of Last-Year Illegal Drug Use in England and Wales Among People Aged 16 to 24

"As in previous years, the proportion of young adults aged 16 to 24 taking any drug in the last year was more than double the proportion in the 16 to 59 age group, at 19.2 per cent. This proportion equates to 1.2 million young people. It is this younger age group that largely drives the trend seen in the wider group of adults aged 16 to 59.

"Over the last five years there has been some fluctuation in this series. However, the long-term trend is downward; the 2016/17 estimate of 19.2 per cent is statistically significantly lower compared with 10 years ago (24.2% in 2006/07) and with the start of the time series in 1996 (29.7%). The reduction compared with the 2006/07 survey year is accounted for by statistically significant falls in half of drug types.

"The 2016/17 CSEW found that seven per cent of young adults aged 16 to 24 had taken a Class A drug in the last year, equating to around 429,000 young people. The change compared with the 2015/16 CSEW (6.6%) and the 2006/07 CSEW (8.1%) was not statistically significant, but this trend has fallen statistically significantly compared with 1996 (9.2%). As with the trend in any drug use, the trend in Class A drug use has been relatively stable since the 2009/10 survey year, with the exception of the 2012/13 estimate, which looks to be out of line with recent results.


Drug Misuse: Findings from the 2016/17 Crime Survey for England and Wales. Statistical Bulletin 11/17. National Statistics. Home Office. July 2017.