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The prevalence of substance abuse in the UK

drug abuse in the UK

Statistics of Drug Misuse in the UK

If we consider substances in its widest form – from cigarettes and alcohol to Class A drugs and other illegal substances – drug and alcohol use is everywhere.

Though many will drink occasionally or smoke socially, there are also many across the UK who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

There are many questions surrounding substance abuse patterns across the UK, so we have the answers.

The Executive Rehab Guide is the UK’s most comprehensive guide to addiction, treatment, rehab and recovery.

We hear your needs, and we answer your questions.

Whether you need help, or you are seeking advice about someone else, then call us today on our 24/7 helpline: 0808 1150 446.

Which cities are the UK’s drug capitals?

 Though there is drug and alcohol abuse in almost every city, it is more prevalent in some than in others.

Here is a summary of the substance situation in the UK’s main cities.

The London cocaine market is worth £1bn a year

The UK’s capital, London, due to its size, diversity, affluent and deprived areas, is one of the main areas for alcohol and drug misuse.

  • Cocaine and psychoactive substances were responsible for the highest proportion of drug related deaths in London.
  • The abuse, and deaths related to these substances in London is the highest in the UK.
  • See more about private addiction treatment in London.

Birmingham: Almost 400 drug-related deaths a year

The most widely consumed drug in Birmingham is Cannabis, closely followed by powder-form cocaine and amphetamines.

In addition, around 7% of people in the West Midlands admitted to taking prescription drugs without a prescription.

Get help in Birmingham.

Manchester: 13,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions

Marijuana, amphetamines and cocaine are the most prominent drugs in Manchester.

90% of Manchester’s boroughs have a higher rate of alcohol and drug-related deaths than the national average.

Manchester has been recently identified as one of the UK’s major hubs for county lines.

County lines are gangs who transport illegal drugs out of the cities into suburbs, towns and rural areas using drug mules – young adults or children who are often abused, groomed or blackmailed.

Drug addiction treatment in Manchester.

There are addiction services in all major cities:

addiction is prevalent everywhere

  • Liverpool
  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh
  • Cardiff
  • Bristol
  • Belfast

Looking for treatments available via location? Click here.

Substance abuse in rural Vs urban areas

The access to illegal drugs is widening due to the developing system of ‘county lines’.

  • So, what is the difference between drug use in urban and rural areas?
  • The truth is that addiction can impact anyone, regardless of age, sex or gender, or geographical location.
  • While many associate the larger cities with prominent drug and alcohol abuse, the number of people becoming addicted is increasing, and is becoming more prevalent in rural areas.

There are a number of factors that may contribute to drug use in urban areas, such as the social scene and peer pressure, and the proximity to drugs and alcohol.

However, research from the BBC has found that drug crime is increasing in small towns and rural villages.

Julia Mulligan, Chair of the National Rural Crime Network has noted:

‘The nature of crime is more complex and nuanced than ever…too often, urban areas receive the majority of the money, but as today’s research shows, that can simply push crime elsewhere. That is not fair on rural communities.’

Contributing factors to rural drug use include:

  • County lines broadening their market by travelling further afield
  • Isolation and solitude in rural areas
  • Lack of social scene for young people resulting in boredom

If I live rurally, is help available?

Wherever you are, there is always help available to you. Your local GP will be able to advise you, there are numerous helplines, and many rehab centres positioned across the UK.

For more information and advice about your options, call us today on 0808 1150 446.

Is drug use worse in affluent or deprived areas?

As well as in inner-cities, deprivation is also prevalent in towns and rural areas.

Many associate drug abuse with deprived areas, and though this is true, it is not always the case, and affluent areas also see alcohol and illegal drug abuse. Drug addiction help here.

The middle-class population consumes more drugs and alcohol than those living under the poverty line, according to the Social Metrics Commission.

Drug use among the middle class is around 20-25%, compared with 10% in more deprived areas.

In addition, alcohol consumption is 10% higher among the middle class, than the working class.

However, while the study found higher substance abuse rates among the middle class, a higher percentage of those living in poverty smoke and have higher cases of disability.

Read the most recent full report here.

We are here to help

Here at the Executive Rehab Guide, we are committed to providing those in need with help and advice, wherever they are, whatever their situation.

If you, or someone you love is struggling with addiction, then contact one of our addiction specialists today on 0808 1150 446.

Last Updated on December 2, 2021 by Alison