There is both good and bad news to report regarding drug use among adults in the UK. The good news is that the number of people suffering from addiction has not increased significantly since the Observer took their last survey in 2008. The bad news is that more adults report using illegal drugs in the 2014 edition of the survey.
In 2008, just 27% of UK adults acknowledged having used an illicit drug at some point during their lives. The 2014 survey shows an increase to 31%. That means more than one-third of all adults have used illicit drugs at least once. Among those acknowledging as much, approximately 21% said they still do so either occasionally or regularly. That works out to just over 6% of the total population.
A few additional effects from the survey are as follows:
- 87% of those who admitted using illegal drugs believe they have never had a problem with them
- half of all current regular drug users are between the ages of 16 and 34
- 23% identifying as regular drug users do so on a daily basis
- 93% of the drug users use cannabis
- among a list of 12 drugs, heroin is considered the most dangerous while marijuana is considered the least; tobacco and alcohol come in at numbers nine and 10 respectively.
There is a lot more data in the Observer survey; too much, in fact, to deal with all of it here. What concerns us most is the 87% of admitted drug users who believe they have never had a problem with drugs. While this statistic may sound a good one, asking that question is fundamentally flawed. Why? Because the vast majority of substance abusers and addicts do not realise they have a problem until it is too late. The fact that a person does not believe he or she has a problem does not make his or her perception reality.
The truth about substance abuse and drug addiction is that it is a gradual process. A person does not simply wake up one day and find him or herself addicted. By the time he or she realises their addiction, they have already been dependent on drugs or alcohol for some time.
We are also concerned that the survey shows more adults admitting to taking drugs in 2014 than in 2008. To see a rise of four percentage points in just six years suggests that more young people are taking drugs now than they were at the time of the previous survey. Moreover, any time the drug culture welcomes a new member, the potential for substance abuse or addiction problems increase.
It is true that we live in the midst of changing times. We live in a day and age when access to both alcohol and drugs is as easy as it has ever been. At the same time, cultural attitudes toward all of these substances are shifting. People are more accepting of both illicit drugs and illegal substances among users of all ages. At Addiction Helper, we do not see that as a positive thing.
As an independent advice and referral organisation, we see first-hand the damage done by alcohol and drugs in Britain. We see that side of substance abuse your friends will never tell you; that side of drinking and taking drugs that could cost you everything you hold dear.
Our advice is to always avoid drink and drugs completely. Knowing that this not always the case, we are here to help you conquer any drug or alcohol problem you might already have. Call our 24-hour helpline for more information.
Sources: The Guardian
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