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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

May 27, 2005: Illicit Drug Use in England and Wales

A new research report, ‘Drug Misuse Declared: Findings from the 2003/04 British Crime Survey’ just published by the Home Office illuminates the extent of illicit drug use among 16 to 59 year olds in England and Wales in 2003/04.

The report explores trends in drug use since 1996, based on data from the British Crime Survey (BCS). In addition to asking respondents about their experiences of crime, the BCS also asks about a number of other crime- related topics. (The BCS has since 1996 included questions on illicit drug use.) It particularly focuses on young people and changes since 1998 - the beginning of the Governments’ Drugs Strategy. The research also considers geographical, socio-economic and lifestyle factors associated with drug use.

An estimated total of over 11 million people aged 16 to 59 in England and Wales have at some point used illicit drugs; just under 4 million have used drugs in the last year and over 2 million used them in the last month. It is also estimated that over 4 million people aged 16 to 59 have used Class A drugs in their lifetime; just over 1 million having used them in the last year and over half a million in the last month.

According to the 2003/04 BCS, over a third (35.6%) of 16 to 59 year olds have used one or more illicit drugs in their lifetime, and around one in eight used one or more illicit drugs in the previous year. Approximately one in twelve used one or more illicit drugs in the previous month. The results also indicated that 13.4% of those aged 16 to 59 have used a Class A drug at least once in their lifetime, 3.5% used at least one Class A drug last year and 1.8% last month.

The results indicate that among young people aged 16 to 24, the use of any drug has decreased significantly and Class A drug use has remained stable since 1998.

However, cocaine has become increasingly popular amongst those using Class A drugs. For those aged 16 to 59, the use of ‘Any drug’ between 1998 and 2003/04 has remained stable and Class A drug use increased significantly. It is thought that this increase is mainly due to a significant increase in the use of cocaine and ecstasy and an increase in the percentage of people aged 25 to 59 who take Class A drugs. The age of psychedelia may, however, be drawing to a close; the use of hallucinogens, in particular LSD, has decreased significantly.

However, cannabis is the drug of choice for most. The 2003/04 BCS suggest that 10.8% of those aged 16 to 59 year olds used cannabis in the last year. Cocaine is the second most popular drug - 2.4% claim to have used it in the last year. This is closely followed by ecstasy at 2% and amphetamines at 1.5%. Other drugs are more rarely used.

Commenting on ‘Drug Misuse Declared: Findings from the 2003/04 British Crime Survey’, Home Office Minister Paul Goggins said:

“Treatment works, and it is no coincidence that as drug treatment programmes have expanded, drug-related crimes like theft and burglary recorded by the police have fallen significantly – by 11 per cent last year.

“But we are not complacent. Drug misuse is still too high and the Government has an ambitious programme to do more. Over the next year, we will be rolling out tough new powers from the Drugs Act to enable the police and courts to put more drug dealers behind bars and get more drug misusing offenders into treatment. And we will continue to put significant levels of funding into young people’s substance misuse.”