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Friday, 28 October 2005 11:06
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
11 million Britons have taken illegal drugs
Researchers have revealed that nearly 11 million Britons have taken illegal drugs, including four million who have used class A substances such as heroin and cocaine.

The study found that levels of drug taking appear to be levelling or falling off but remain higher than seven years ago when the Labour government was elected and launched its drive to cut drug addiction.

Since then, the numbers taking illegal drugs increased sharply, especially in the 16 to 59 age group, and mainly due to the large rise in cocaine use between 1998 and 2000.

The British Crime Survey, which interviewed nearly 50,000 people, showed that cannabis was still the most popular drug, used by 9.7 per cent of the population in the last year. That is a drop from 10.8 per cent in 2003-4, when the drug was reclassified from class B to class C.

The next most commonly used drug was cocaine (2 per cent), followed by ecstasy (1.8 per cent), amphetamines (1.4 per cent) and amyl nitrite or poppers (1.2 per cent). Only 0.1 per cent admitted to taking heroin in the last year.

The proportion of under-25-year-olds using cannabis fell to 23.5 per cent from 24.8 per cent in 2003-4 and the proportion using any kind of drug fell to 26.3 per cent from 27.8 per cent.

A Tory spokesman said: "The surge in the number of people taking class A drugs happened in 1998 - at the same time as Labour launched their clampdown. This survery further backs up the case against Labour that, despite their rhetoric of being 'tough on the causes of crime', their drugs policies have had quite the reverse effect."


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