Addiction Statistics

From developed societies to struggling economies, addiction cuts right through the populace. This has led to the launch of campaigns and special programmes targeted at dissuading new users from abusing substances and helping addicted individuals to come forward and seek help instantly. This article takes a look at the addiction statistics across the world.

Addiction statistics for the United Kingdom

The UK has the highest prevalence of drug misuse in Europe, with approximately one third of all adults in England and Wales reported to have used drugs at least once in their lifetime. The Office for National Statistics reported that in 2008, there were 2,928 drug-related deaths in England, with heroin being the most frequent cause of death. Also, there were 9,031 alcohol-related deaths, which is over double the rate from 1991.

Addiction is a chronic psychiatric disease, where there is dysfunction in the brain reward and memory system. The addiction forces the individual to pursue reward via substance use.

In 2001, it was estimated that 118,500 people received treatment from drug misuse agencies in England alone. It’s very difficult to determine exact figures, as many do not seek help from health services. Individuals who abuse drugs tend to be more stigmatised than those with a mental illness, because people view drug abuse as a personal choice, and not a medical condition.

Alcohol addiction statistics

  • 7% of adults in England regularly drink over the recommended Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines, while 2.5 million people report drinking over 14 units on their heaviest drinking days.
  • In 2016, 21% of the population reported not drinking at all and overall consumption has fallen by around 18% since 2004.
  • In the UK, there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths in 2015 (around 14 per 100,000 people). The mortality rates are highest among people aged 55-64.
  • In England, there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers, of whom only 108,696 are currently accessing treatment.
  • Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.
  • Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion annually.
  • While the price of alcohol has increased by 36% since 2005, it remains 60% more affordable than it was in 1980.
  • Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver and depression
  • In the UK, there were an estimated 1.1 million hospital admissions in 2014-15 related to alcohol consumption, where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis. In the same period, there were 339,000 admissions for conditions directly caused by alcohol.
  • Males accounted for approximately 65% of all alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2014.
  • The alcohol-related mortality rate of men in the most disadvantaged socio-economic class is 3.5 times higher than for men in the least disadvantaged class, while for women, the figure is 5.7 times higher.
  • In England and Wales, 63% of all alcohol-related deaths in 2014 were caused by alcoholic liver disease.
  • Liver disease is one of the few major causes of premature mortality that is increasing. Meanwhile, deaths have increased by around 40% in a decade.
  • The number of older people between the ages of 60 and 74 admitted to hospitals in England with mental and behavioural disorders associated with alcohol use has risen by over 150% in the past ten years. Meanwhile, the figure for those aged 15 to 59 has increased by 94%.
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Tobacco and nicotine addiction statistics in the UK

  • In 2016, of all adult survey respondents in the UK, 15.8% smoked, which equates to around 7.6 million of the population.
  • Of the constituent countries, 15.5% of adults in England smoked; for Wales, this figure was 16.9%, Scotland, 17.7% and Northern Ireland, 18.1%.
  • In the UK, 17.7% of men were current smokers, which was significantly higher in comparison with 14.1% of women.
  • Those aged 18 to 24 in the UK experienced the largest decline in smoking prevalence of 6.5 percentage points since 2010.
  • Among current smokers in Great Britain, men smoked 12 cigarettes each day on average, whereas women smoked 11; these are some of the lowest levels observed since 1974.
  • In Great Britain, 5.6% of respondents in 2016 stated they currently used an e-cigarette, which equates to approximately 2.9 million of the population.

Marijuana addiction statistics in the UK

Marijuana remains one of the most popularly abused substances in the United Kingdom. In 2014, figures published by Public Health England showed an increase in marijuana usage amongst the younger populace.

More than 13,851 Brits were reported to have received medical treatment for drug addiction, with marijuana being the main culprit. The figures posted marked a 50% rise from 2007.
For the wider population, data released in 2016 suggests that it remains the most popular substance of abuse for people of all age groups, with 6.5% of adults aged 16 to 59 having used it for the year in review (around 2.1 million people).

Cocaine addiction statistics in the UK

A 2015/2016 survey highlighted cocaine as the next most commonly used drug after cannabis, amongst adults aged 16 to 59. 2.2% of the population used it, equating to around 725,000 people. Powder cocaine is the third most commonly used drug amongst young adults aged 16 to 24 after cannabis and ecstasy.

In the United Kingdom, statistics published in 2017 showed that there has been a 23% rise in the number of people seeking help to beat crack cocaine addiction. Figures from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System showed that 3,657 people requested help for quitting crack addiction in the last year. This is up from the 2,980 in the previous year.

An estimate from Liverpool John Moores University says that the number of crack users in England has risen 10% to 182,828 in the five years from 2010 to 2015.

Heroin addiction statistics in the UK

  • Between 2010 and 2015, the death rates for heroin doubled in England, Wales and Scotland. On average in 2016, every five hours, someone died after using heroin.
  • However, figures from the same year suggest that the heroin addiction situation in the UK may be improving. The number of 18 to 24-year-olds in England entering treatment for addiction to heroin fell 79% in 10 years. This has been attributed to the stigma surrounding the drug and changing tastes in intoxication.

Prescription drug addiction statistics in the UK

  • There has been a more than 100% rise in the prescription of anti-depressants in the UK over the last decade. Prescriptions have increased from 12 to 24 million in the past decade.
  • Opiate related deaths (that are not caused by tramadol or codeine) have soared from 50 a year in 1993 to almost 200 a year as of 2014, according to data from the ONS.
  • Additionally, figures released by the 2014/2015 crime survey report for England and Wales show that 5.4% of the adult population aged 16 to 59 have abused opiates without a prescription for them. The report also showed that people aged 16-24 are most at risk of opiates abuse, with 7.2% of this demographic admitting to misusing.

Amphetamine and methamphetamine addiction statistics in the UK

A 2014 study found that around 25,000 people abused methamphetamine in the UK. The study also showed that methamphetamine accounted for only 0.3% of all referrals to national drug services. In the year under review, 240 people were recorded as having asked for help with methamphetamine in the whole of England, compared to nearly 8,000 people asking for help with cocaine related problems.

Hallucinogen and inhalant statistics

  • After marijuana, inhalants are the most common form of drug abuse amongst teens in the UK. A Department of Health survey found that six percent of 11 to 15-year-olds had abused solvents.
  • There were 49 deaths in the UK in 2006 due to inhalant abuse. Of these, 33 were caused by butane – most commonly butane cigarette lighter refills.
  • In Ireland, the second most commonly used substances are inhalants. A survey of 15 to 16-year-old students found that 15% had abused inhalants, which was well above the European average of 9%.
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Other addiction statistics

  • In 2015/16, there were 8,621 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders. This was 6% more than 2014/15 and 11% higher than 2005/06.
  • There were 15,074 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs. This is 6% more than 2014/15 and 51% more than 2005/06.
  • In 2015, there were 2,479 registered deaths related to drug misuse. This is an increase of 10% on 2014 and 48% higher than 2005.
  • Deaths related to drug misuse are at their highest level since comparable records began in 1993.
  • In 2015/16, around one in twelve (8.4%) adults aged 16 to 59 had taken an illicit drug in the last year. This equates to around 2.7 million people.
  • This level of drug use was similar to the 2014/15 survey (8.6%), but is significantly lower than a decade ago (10.5% in the 2005/06 survey).
  • In 2014, 15% of pupils admitted to ever having taken drugs; 10% had taken drugs in the last year and 6% had taken drugs in the last month.
  • The prevalence of drug use tended to increased with age; 6% of 11-year-olds said they had tried drugs at least once, compared with 24% of 15-year-olds.

How addicted individuals can be helped

It’s important to note that addiction is treatable. There many programmes and interventions specifically designed to ensure you can make a full recovery from any addiction you might be tussling with. Apart from government funded programmes, there are rehab facilities all across the UK that specialise in the provision of complete treatment for addicted individuals on every level.

The first step to getting help as an addicted individual is to contact these rehabs and find one that appeals most to you. Your condition will be analysed by professionals and a course of action will be specifically outlined for you.

If your loved one is addicted, you can help them by staging an intervention that will be the precursor to complete treatment. It’s important to avoid confrontation, so get professional help if necessary.

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