NHS publish annual statistical report on drug misuse in England


The NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre have published their annual report on drug misuse in adults and children, which this year includes a focus on young adults.

Headlines from the report include a 58% rise in hospital admissions for drug poisoning in the last 11 years, and a 23% fall in admissions for drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders in the same period.

This report is largely a bringing together of data from previously published documents from the NHS Information Centre, the Home Office, Office for National Statistics or the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse.  The report does include some new information on hospital admissions related to drug misuse.

The main topics are:

  • Prevalence of drug misuse, including the types of drugs used;
  • Trends in drug misuse over recent years;
  • Patterns of drug misuse among different groups of the population;
  • Health outcomes related to drug misuse including hospital admissions, drug treatment and number of deaths.

Key facts

  • In 2011/12, there were 6,173 admissions to hospital with a primary diagnosis of a drug-related mental health and behavioural disorder. This is 7% less than 2010/11 when there were 6,640 such admissions. Overall, between 2000/01 and 2011/12 admissions have decreased by 23% from 8,027 to 6,173.
  • Where primary or secondary diagnosis was recorded there were 57,733 admissions in 2011/12, this is a 12.4% increase from 2010/11 when there were 51,353 such admissions. Figures from this type of admission have continued to increase year on year and are now almost twice as high as there were eleven years ago as they stood at 25,683 in 2000/2001
  • In 2011/12 there were 12,344 admissions to hospital with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by drugs. This is a 1.9% decrease compared to 2010/11 when there were 12,586 such admissions. Since 2000/01 there has been a long term increase of 58% when there were 7,814 such admissions.
  • The total number of deaths related to drug misuse in England and Wales was 1,605 in 2011, a decrease of 179 from 2010 when there were 1,784 such deaths. This continues the downward trend seen since 2008.
  • The most common underlying cause of death was from accidental poisoning accounting for 71% of deaths


Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2012 (PDF). NHS Information Centre, 29 Nov 2012.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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