This summary reports the main findings from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15 on illicit drug use.
Prevalence of drug use in Scotland
- 6.0% of adults reported having used one or more illicit drugs in the last year. There has been a decline in self-reported drug use in the last year between the SCJS 2008/09 and 2014/15 (7.6% in the 2008/09 survey).
- Reported drug use has fallen for both females and males between 2008/09 and 2014/15, with a decrease in reported illicit drug use in the last year from 11.1% in comparison to 8.9% amongst men, and a decrease from 4.3% to 3.4% amongst women.
- In 2014/15, 2.6% of adults reported use of Class A drugs, 5.2% reported use of Class B drugs and 0.5% reported use of Class C drugs in the last year.
- There has been a decline in reported use in the last year of Class A, Class B and Class C drugs between 2008/09 and 2014/15.
- As in the SCJS 2012/13, cannabis is the most commonly used drug with 5.0% of adults reporting use in the last year, however this has fallen from 6.2% in the 2008/09 survey.
- Self-reported illicit drug use varies significantly by age, gender, socioeconomic classification, area deprivation and victim status; higher levels of drug use are found in younger age groups, men, those working in routine/manual professions, those living in deprived areas and those who are victims of crime.
- 8.9% of adults reported that someone had offered to give or sell them at least one type of illicit drug in the last year. There has been a decline in those reporting being offered drugs in the last year between the SCJS 2008/09 and 2014/15 (13.7% in the 2008/09 survey). For the younger age groups, there has been a decline in 16-24 year-olds and 25-44 year-olds reporting being offered an illicit drug in the last year between the SCJS 2008/09 and 2014/15 (from 41.4% to 27.5% of 16-24 year-olds and from 18.1% to 11.9% of 25-44 year-olds).
- An estimated 1.6% of adults reported that they had taken substances sold as 'legal highs' at some point in their lives. Use of legal highs was higher amongst younger age groups, with 4.1% of 16-24 year-olds reporting having ever used 'legal highs', compared with 2.7% of 25-44 year-olds and 0.5% of 45-59 year-olds.
The experiences of adults reporting drug use in Scotland
- Amongst those who reported drug use in the last year, eight in ten (80.7%) said that they had used cannabis; 29.3% said they had used cocaine and 21.7% said they had used ecstasy.
- Of adults reporting taking more than one drug in the last year, half (50.6%) reported that they had taken different drugs together at the same time in the last year.
- Of adults who reported using drugs in the last year, nearly two thirds (64.8%) reported that they had consumed alcohol at the same time as taking drugs in the last year.
- The most common age for first trying drugs was the late teens (16-19 year-olds). Similarly to the SCJS 2012/13, the majority of adults who had ever taken drugs reported that their first drug used was cannabis (77.8%).
- Of those reporting having used drugs in the last month:
- Four in ten adults (40.5%) reported using their most frequently used drug once or twice a month and just under one in five adults (18.8%) reported using their most frequently used drug on an almost daily basis.
- There has been a decline between 2012/13 and 2014/15 in those reporting that they used their most frequently used drug 'every day or almost every day', from 30.2% to 18.8%.
- The majority said that it was either very easy (40.5%) or fairly easy (43.4%) to get hold of their most often used drug.
- The majority of respondents (82.5%) said that they did not feel they were dependent upon the drug they used most often in the last month.
- Feeling dependent on the drug taken most often varied by area deprivation (based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation  ) with 31.3% of adults feeling dependent on their drug taken most often in the last month living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland, compared to 11.9% of adults in the rest of Scotland.