Drug abuse statistics from Scotland have recently
been released in the form of two large surveys: the Scottish Crime and Victimisation
Survey (SCVS) 2006 and the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle
and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2006. These provide a detailed
insight into the prevalence of drug abuse in Scotland in all age
groups. Of course, these statistics are very similar to the
rest of the UK and give us valuable statistical information on the
current level of drug abuse.
See also other recent article entitled
Drug Abuse Statistics in Young People and
Alcohol Abuse Facts and Statistics.
The statistics detailed below are without doubt significant for parents who may
not yet appreciate how many children and teenagers abuse illegal drugs
but also are important for UK employers who may not have considered how many of their employees
may be under the influence of substances whilst in the workplace.
The SCVS survey covered the views and experiences of just under 5000 adult respondents
which represent a broad cross section of society, while the SALSUS survey
obtained information from just over 23,000 children and teenagers. The results
of these two studies are summarised as follows:
Drug Abuse Statistics:
Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS)
A significant proportion of parents are currently unaware of the prevalence of substance
abuse amongst children and teenagers. Based upon the statistics, prevention is
clearly the key here, but
often parents delay the discussion of drug abuse issues with their children,
unfortunately assuming that they won’t be exposed to drugs until they are older. As
the statistics below demonstrate, drug abuse can often occur very early on
in today’s drug abuse and binge drinking culture. So please don’t make the
common mistake of putting off your
discussion about drug and alcohol awareness with your children.
9% of 13 year olds and over a quarter (27%) of 15 year olds reported that they had
used an illicit drug at some point in their lives.
7% of 13 year olds and 23% of 15 year olds reported that they had
used an illicit drug in the year prior to the survey.
4% of 13 year olds and 14% of 15 year olds reported that they had
abused an illegal drug in the month prior to the survey which is
perhaps indicative of more frequent recreational drug use.
There was only minor difference between boys and girls in the
statistics of those
who reported that they had used illegal drugs in the last month (13
year olds, boys 4%, girls 3%: 15 year olds, boys 14%, girls 12%).
4% of 15 year olds admitted abusing illegal drugs at least once per week
(including those reporting use on most days). An additional 4% of 15
year olds reported that they often abused illegal drugs once or
twice per month and 4% a few times a year.
Linking Smoking, Alcohol and Drug Abuse?
The statistics seem to show an increase in the amount of substance
abuse among smokers and alcohol users.
33% of 13 year olds and 50% of 15 year olds who were regular smokers
had also used drugs in the last month. The prevalence was lower than
this among weekly drinkers; 19% of 13 year olds and 34% of 15 year
olds who were weekly drinkers had also used drugs in the last month,
but still higher than the overall prevalence for all pupils (4% of
13 year olds and 13% of 15 year olds).
So what about the availability of illegal drugs for young people?
Well, as with other UK data concerning the availability of drugs,
this survey also highlighted how many children and teenagers have
actually been offered illicit drugs.
During 2006, just under a quarter (23%) of 13 year olds and over half
(53%) of 15 year olds reported that they had ever been offered
illicit drugs. There was little difference between boys and girls in
their experience of being offered illicit drugs. At age 13, 25% of
boys and 21% of girls reported having been offered illicit drugs,
whilst at age 15 years old 55% of boys and 51% of girls reported
offered illegal drugs.
It appears there is an obvious cultural move toward drug abuse in the younger generations and this is
a difficult trend to
reverse as the young people become parents themselves with a more
liberal and relaxed attitude towards illegal drugs. Having a greater
awareness of drugs, their effects and the associated hazards is
vital for parents if they are to educate their children. Being
able to spot the signs and symptoms of abuse also has its place in
diagnosing any existing problems.
Many parents are also unaware of
home drug testing kits which are
available for same day despatch via mail order.
When used in conjunction with open
communication and co-operation, these test kits can be
used to help deter children and teenagers from abusing drugs and to create an
opposing force against peer pressure. Being able to say, “Sorry, I
can’t use drugs because my parents test me at home” can make all the
So if you would like more
information, or to
purchase drug or alcohol test kits for use in the home, visit our
dedicated home drug test site
www.1st-home-drug-tests.com to buy drug tests online.
Alternatively, for employers we have a
page specifically for information on
random drug testing in the workplace.
Drug Abuse Statistics:
Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey (SCVS) 2006:
Unlike the SALSUS survey, the SCVS survey covered adult drug abuse
statistics – which of course affect
the workplace, road safety and many other areas of modern living.
In particular, employers should be aware of the following statistics
and how they can affect the safety of all employees while at work.
See also our
Workplace Drug Testing
article for employers.
Greater than one third (37%) of all those surveyed reported having taken
illicit drugs at least once during their lifetime, while 13%
reported using illegal drugs in the last year.
There was a trend for more male respondents to report having abused
illegal drugs (43%) than female respondents (31%) at any point in their
Greater than 55% of those respondents aged 20 to 34 years old, 46% of those
aged 16 to 19 years old and 39% of 35 to 39 year olds and a fifth of
40 to 59 year olds had used drugs at some stage in their lives,
indicating that the younger age ranges are far more likely to use
With regards to more recent drug abuse, at least a third of male respondents in
each age group under 29 years old had used drugs in the last year.
This fell to 21% of 30 to 34 year olds, 17% of 35 to 39 year olds
and 4% of 40 to 59 year olds. The number of female respondents
reporting drug abuse in the last year also declined with age (36% of
16 to 19 year olds, 24% of 20 to 24 year olds, 12% of 25 to 29 year
olds and 5% of 30 to 34 year olds).
With regard to which drugs were used most commonly, it was
found that Cannabis (or Marijuana) was the drug most frequently
used in the year prior to the survey and used ever (11% and 33%
respectively). Cocaine was reported to have been used in the last
year by 4% of those questioned and used ever by 9%. Ecstasy was used
in the last year by 3% and used ever by 10% of respondents.
Amphetamines and poppers had each been used in the last year by 2%
of respondents and used ever by 14% and 10% of respondents
The highest level of Cannabis use ‘ever’ was reported amongst 20 to
24 year age olds (54%) and 25 to 29 year olds (53%). The same was
observed for cocaine (17% of 20 to 24 year olds and 18% of 25 to 29
year olds). Ecstasy use ever was reported most often among 25 to 29
year olds (25%) and 30 to 34 year olds (22%)
Other useful statistics were also taken into consideration such as
which drugs people had been offered. Cannabis (Marijuana) was the
drug reported as having been most frequently offered in the last
year. One in five (20%) males and 12% of females reported having been offered
Cannabis within the last year.
In conclusion, whether you are a parent concerned about your
children or an employer looking to reduce the impact of substance
abuse in the workplace, you should arm yourselves with more
information and develop a structured plan of action. Drug
information, on-site drug and alcohol test kits, awareness training,
etc, are all available – so formulate a strategy today!