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Drug use 'at record levels by young people' in England and Wales

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Drug use 'at record levels by young people' in England and Wales

Young adults are thought to be behind record levels of class A drug use in England and Wales.

A slight increase in use among people between the 16 and 59 years has led to the highest recorded total since registration in 1996, according to the latest Government Crime Survey.

The increase is "mainly caused" by powdered cocaine and ecstasy use in 16-24 year olds, the Home Office says.

The strongest increase is that of young people in their early twenties.

About 1,3 million or 3,7% of people between the ages of 16 and 59 used Class A drugs in the last year, according to the latest official drug abuse statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

That is not a big increase since 2017 / 18, when it was 3,5% and only slightly higher than the previous record of 3,6% in 2008.

But the report says there has been a "real rise in Class A drug use" among 16 to 24 year olds.

Class A drug use showed a downward trend between 1996 and 2011 / 12, from 9,2% to 6,2%.

Slight increases every year have resulted in a “significant” increase, with about 8,7% of young adults taking a class A drug in the last year - or about 550.000 people.

The percentage of 20 to 24 year-olds was the highest, at 10,4%.

Official figures last month showed that drug deaths in England and Wales have reached record numbers - with 2.917 people dying from illegal drug use in 2018.

These were mainly due to opiates such as heroin, but deaths from cocaine have doubled in the last three years. The production of both opium and cocaine is at the highest level ever, according to the UN.

MDMA deaths also increased, from 56 to 92, with deaths below the 29 year in England and Wales, the highest since records started in 1993.

And according to the drug policy group Transform, it is those statistics on deaths that should worry us the most.

“Given the government's limited focus on reducing drug use, the increase in Class A drug use among youth since 2012 looks very bad,” Steve Rolles of Transform told Newsbeat.

“But general statistics on use do not tell much about problematic or harmful use.

"This year's drug mortality statistics are more revealing and disturbing - with deaths rising much faster than with use."

Read more on BBC (EN, source)

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