Understanding Drug Trends: Insights from the Latest UK Drug Misuse Report


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The Office for National Statistics has recently released their latest report on drug misuse in England and Wales. This comprehensive report sheds light on the current trends of illicit drug use, providing valuable insights. In this article, we aim to delve into the significance of these findings and their implications, especially in the context of the evolving landscape of drug testing and policy making. 

Staying Informed on Drug Usage Trends 

Staying informed on current drug usage trends is vital for organisations in crafting effective drug testing policies and procedures. By understanding these trends, organisations can make informed decisions on the types of substances to test for, adapt their testing frequencies, and tailor their prevention strategies. This proactive approach ensures that drug testing remains a relevant and effective tool in maintaining safety and compliance within various environments. 

Frequency of use (%) in people aged 16 to 59 and 16 to 24 years who had taken any drug in the last year, England and Wales, year ending March 2023

Key Points from the Report 

The ONS report reveals that around 9.5% of people aged 16 to 59 (about 3.1 million) reported using drugs in the last year. Cannabis was the most commonly used drug, reported by 7.6% of people, followed by Class A drugs at 3.3%. The report notes no significant changes in overall drug use compared to March 2020 but an increase over the past decade. Drug use was notably higher among the 16 to 24 age group. 

Implications for Drug Testing Policies 

The ONS report’s findings suggest that drug testing policies should be more nuanced, catering specifically to different age groups and substance types. Given the higher drug use among the 16 to 24 age group, policies could focus on education and prevention for younger populations. The predominance of cannabis and Class A drug use indicates the need for testing methods sensitive to these substances. Adapting policies in response to these trends can enhance the effectiveness and relevance of drug testing practices in various settings. 

For the full report, visit the Office for National Statistics website: Drug Misuse in England and Wales: Year Ending March 2023. 

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s innovative drug testing technology is well-suited to address the challenges highlighted by the latest drug misuse trends. Its non-invasive, easy-to-use fingerprinting method offers a discreet and efficient way to test for drug use, aligning with the need for more tailored and responsive drug testing approaches. This technology allows for quick and accurate results, making it an ideal solution for adapting to the evolving landscape of drug misuse. 

Book a demo today to see for yourself, or get in touch with our team for further information 


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