UK Government admits drug use not falling, while deaths rise

Press Release

For immediate release

27th July 2017

 

UK Government admits drug use not falling, while deaths rise

 

Today’s official UK Government illegal drug use statistics for England and Wales show drug use has not fallen for 8 years, and Class A drugs use has not changed significantly since records began in 1996. This comes against a backdrop of illicit drug related deaths hitting record levels for 3 years in a row, with 2,479 people dying in 2015.

 

Martin Powell, Transform Drug Policy Foundation Head of Campaigns said; "The Home Office repeatedly claims drug use is falling, but the figures tell a different story - drug use among 16-59 year olds has been constant for eight years. Class A drug use has not fallen significantly since records began. Although the report claims that NPS use has fallen, it also admits that those who use them the most (homeless people and prisoners) did not take part in the survey!

 

"Crucially, rates of use are in any case not an indicator of levels of harm. What more tragic proof of this could there be than that illicit drug related deaths have hit record levels for 3 years in a row, with 2,479 people dying in 2015 alone? These deaths are fueled by a government that refuses to consider or fund alternatives proven to reduce deaths in other countries - including decriminalising use, safer drug consumption rooms, and legally regulated heroin supply.”

 

"The Government’s recently ‘refreshed’ drug strategy rejects the recommendations of its own official advisers. We call on the Government and opposition to recognise the terrible impact that our criminalised approach has had on those least able to bear it, and to legalise and regulate drugs, to save lives, reduce crime and protect our communities and young people."

 

Contact:

 

Martin Powell, Head of Campaigns,  07875 679 301

Danny Kushlick, Head of External Affairs, 07970 174747

 

Notes

  1. The Drug Use Statistics for England and Wales 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/drug-misuse-findings-from-the-2016-to-2017-csew

  2. The 2017 UK drug strategy is available from the Home Office - 020 7035 3535 https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/about/media-enquiries

  3. Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a UK and Mexico based think tank campaigning for the legal regulation of drugs www.tdpf.org.uk