NHS hosptialIn 2014/15, there were 14,280 primary hospital admissions caused by poisoning by illicit drugs – a rise of 57% since 2004/05, new statistics by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have revealed.

The report, Statistics on Drug Misuse, England 2016, revealed that there were 74,800 hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders in 2014/15 – 9% more than in 2013/14, when there were 68,600 admissions.

The figures also revealed that 45% of the primary admissions (6,490) were related to patients aged 16-34. The North West region had the highest rate of admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs. There, 43 males per 100,000 members of the population and 39 women per 100,000 of the population were treated in hospital. The lowest was London with 14 males and 11 females per 100,000 members of the population. 

Liverpool was the local authority with the highest rate of these admissions, with 444 per 100,000 population. The lowest was Wokingham with 32 per 100,000 population.

Deaths related to misuse of illicit drugs in England and Wales are at their highest level since comparable records began in 1993. In 2014, there were 2,250 deaths related to the misuse of illicit drugs. This was an increase of 15% on 2013 (1,960) and 44% higher than in 2004 (1,570). Men accounted for 72% of these deaths (1,620) and women, 28% (624). 

The report also shows:

  • In 2014, there were 1,720 deaths due to accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances
  • In 2014, 15% of secondary school pupils aged 11-1, had ever taken drugs – 10% had taken drugs in the last year and 6% had taken them in the month before being surveyed
  • Cannabis is the drug that 11-15 year olds were more likely to have taken. In 2014, 6.7% of pupils reported taking cannabis in the past year 
  • In 2015/16, 8.4% of adults aged 16-59 reported taking an illicit drug in the past year. This level was similar to the 2014/15 survey (8.6%), but significantly lower than a decade ago (10.5% in the 2005/06 survey).

Responsible Statistician, Paul Niblett, said: “[This] report gives insight into the misuse of drugs in society, and shines a light on the prevalence of drug use among different age groups. 

“Reporting changes in rates of drug-related hospital admissions and misuse of drugs in adults provides valuable information for primary and secondary healthcare services, policy makers and drug rehabilitation professionals.” 

You can find the full report at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/statdrugs16