Chapter 8 Alcohol and Drugs
Prevalence of hazardous or harmful levels of weekly alcohol consumption1 has declined steadily since 2003.
The mean number of units of alcohol consumed per week by adult drinkers has also declined since 2003.
Prevalence of hazardous or harmful weekly alcohol consumption was around twice as high for men as for women in 2021.
23% All adults
Male drinkers also consumed more units of alcohol per week than female drinkers in 2021.
11.3 All adults
In 2021, hazardous or harmful levels of alcohol consumption were highest among those aged between 45 and 74.
In 2021, among all adults, hazardous1 or harmful levels of weekly alcohol consumption were more common in the least deprived areas, while not drinking was more common in the most deprived areas.
In 2021, 12% of adults reported using drugs in the previous 12 months, of these:
Drug use in the previous 12 months decreased with age:
In 2021, the following proportions of adults used class A, class B or class C drugs in the previous 12 months:
Class A 4%
Class B 7%
Class C 2%
Among all adults, cannabis was the most used drug in 2021 and had the highest prevalence among those aged 16-24.
6% All adults
18% 16-24 year olds
In 2021, drug use was more common in the most deprived areas, and this was true for both class A and class B drugs2.
In 2021, 9% of adults reported ever having had a problem with alcohol, with 1% saying they still had a problem.
In 2021, 3% of adults reported ever having had a problem with drugs, with less than 0.5% saying they still had a problem.
Men were more likely that women to have had a problem with drugs in 2021.
In 2021, adults who had used any drug in the last 12 months had significantly lower mental wellbeing as measured by WEMWBS3 on average than those who had not.
45.4 used drugs
49.1 not used drugs
1 More than 14 units per week.
2 Use of class A drugs was most prevalent in the most deprived areas, but was not significantly higher than in all other deprivation quintiles.
3 WEMWBS scores range from 14 to 70. Higher scores indicate greater wellbeing.
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