United Kingdom

Statistics and other data regarding drug policies in the United Kingdom, covering all areas including public safety/criminal justice, treatment, harm reduction, prevention, and public health. Please note: the United Kingdom section includes data for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland does its own separate data reporting, so Scotland has a chapter of its own.

Treatment Effectiveness


(Treatment Effectiveness) "The overriding finding from this study is that treatment is associated with a reduction in harmful behaviours that are associated with problem drug use. The majority of treatment seekers received care-coordinated treatment, expressed satisfaction with their care, were retained in treatment beyond three months, reported significant and substantial reductions in drug use and offending, and improvements in mental well-being and social functioning."

Estimated Number of Problem Drug Users in UK

Problem Drug Use and Its Correlates

(Estimated Number of Problem Drug Users in UK) "Combining the 2009/10 estimates for England, Scotland, Wales (Hay et al. 2011; ISD Scotland 2011; Welsh Government 2011a) and the most recent estimate for Northern Ireland for 2004 (Centre for Drug Misuse Research 2006) it is possible to derive an estimate for the United Kingdom of 383,534 problem drug users, a rate of 9.38 per 1,000 population aged 15 to 64 (Table 4.2)."

Estimated Number of Problem Drug Users (PDUs) in Wales

(Estimated Number of Problem Drug Users (PDUs) in Wales) "National PDU estimates for Wales for the period 2009/10 were published by the Welsh Government in October 2011 (Welsh Government 2011a; see UK Focal Point Report 2011). Regional differences were noted in the report across Health Board areas. The rate (per 1,000 population) ranged from 3.5 (95% CI 2.4 to 9.6) in the rural Powys area to 14.3 (95% CI 11.0 to 19.0) in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU)123 area."

Estimated Number of Problem Drug Users (PDUs) in England

(Estimated Number of Problem Drug Users (PDUs) in England) "The most recent estimates of problem drug use in England were published in 2011 (Hay et al. 2011; see UK Focal Point Report 2011) showing that there were an estimated 306,150118 opiate and/or crack cocaine users in 2009/10. New national and local estimates of the prevalence of opiate and/or crack cocaine use (OCU) are being calculated for 2010/11 with separate estimates for opiate use, crack cocaine use and injecting drug use. It is anticipated that the results will be available in 2013."

Stop and Searches for Drugs in England and Wales

(Stop and Searches for Drugs in England and Wales) "In 2010/11 there were almost 600,000 stop and searches for drugs carried out by the police in England and Wales accounting for almost half of all police stop and searches for any reason (Home Office 2012e). This is a five per cent increase on the previous year and continues a trend of increased use of this power. Almost half of the drug searches recorded were carried out in London.

Oral Fluid Test Evaluations for DUI Enforcement

(Oral Fluid Test Evaluations for DUI Enforcement) "It is disturbing that the sensitivities of the cannabis and cocaine tests were all quite low, although further testing of the cocaine tests is desirable due to the low prevalences and the low concentrations encountered in this study. There are several countries in Central and Southern Europe for which these two substance classes are of special interest.

Opioid Substitution Treatment and Risk of New HIV Infection Among IDUs

(Opioid Substitution Treatment and Risk of New HIV Infection Among IDUs) "There is evidence from published and unpublished observational studies that opiate substitution treatment is associated with an average 54% reduction in the risk of new HIV infection among people who inject drugs. There is weak evidence to suggest that greater benefit might be associated with longer measured duration of exposure to opiate substitution treatment.

Profile of Patients in Treatment, by Substance Type, Northern Ireland

(Profile of Patients in Treatment, by Substance Type, Northern Ireland)
"Drugs only
"5.1 There were 1514 individuals in treatment for drug misuse. Of these, 1042 (69%) were male and 472 (31%) were female (Table 3). The largest proportion of those in treatment for drug misuse were aged 18 years or over (94%; 1417 individuals), whilst 6% (97 individuals) were aged under 18 years (Figure 3; Table 4).
"Alcohol only