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15 Million People in Britain Use Illegal Drugs

The British Drug Survey 2014 has just been released, and it suggests that 31 per cent of the population in the UK have used illegal drugs - this is around 15 million people. About 21 per cent of those surveyed use these drugs occasionally while 13 per cent admit to having a problem. Marijuana is the drug that is most likely to be abused (93 per cent) followed by amphetamine (34 per cent), cocaine (29 per cent), and ecstasy (25 per cent). Six per cent of those surveyed had used heroin and 6 per cent admitted to using prescription drugs recreationally.

Information about How People Start Using Drugs

The British Drug Survey 2014 shows that the majority of people (41 per cent) first try illegal drugs between the age of 16 and 18 - twenty-three per cent of respondents were under 16. Marijuana is the most popular first drug (82 per cent) followed by amphetamine (6 per cent), ecstasy (2 per cent), and cocaine (2 percent). The most cited reason for trying drugs that first time is 'curiosity' (69 per cent) followed by 'wanting to fit in with friends' (14 per cent), 'peer pressure' (10 per cent), and 'unhappiness' (3 per cent).

Views on Drug Use in Society

Only 38 per cent of respondents claimed to have ever known anyone who had a serious problem with drugs, but 46 per cent at least suspected that their kids had used drugs - 19 per cent said their kids definitely used drugs. The majority of respondents (40 per cent) claimed to be knowledgeable about the issues surrounding drugs but 51 per cent claimed to be at least 'not very knowledgeable'.

Views on the British Drug Survey 2014

The Independent newspaper summed up the results of the British Drug Survey 2014 by highlighting the fact that it shows the UK has the most delusional alcohol and drug users in the world. A worrying proportion of people demonstrated that they did not understand the risks of their behaviour. The fact that one-third of young people in the survey admitted to taking white powder without knowing what it was is very worrying.

Other people are claiming that the British Drug Survey 2014 is just generating alarmist claims. Marijuana continues to be the drug that is most used, but there is good evidence to suggest that this substance is less dangerous than alcohol. The survey also showed that 84 per cent of respondents said they would not take drugs in the future even if they were decriminalised - those who did say that they would take drugs in the future were most likely to use marijuana. The majority of people (61 per cent) do not believe illegal drugs should be decriminalised - although 16 per cent of respondents believed the war on drugs could never be won.

Importance of the British Drug Survey

The data from the British Drug Survey can be put to good use in many different ways. The fact that it provides information about patterns of drug use means it is a handy tool for anyone looking to tackle the problems of drug abuse in society. This information can also be used by those agencies trying to promote healthier behaviours - for example, by finding out why individuals first start to use illegal drugs can provide clues on how to combat it.

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