§ Mr. Bob Ainsworth
[holding answer 11 July 2002]Results from the 1998 and 2000 British Crime Surveys estimate that 29 per cent. of adults aged between 16 and 24 reported to have used an illegal drug in the previous year.
Results from the 2001 survey of drug use, smoking and drinking among school children aged 11 to 15 years in England (published in a statistical press notice by Department of Health on 15 March 2002) show that 42 per cent. have been offered at least one or more drugs and that 20 per cent. reported the use of an illegal drug in the previous year.
A revised method of measuring the prevalence of drug use was introduced in 2001. The format of the questions was changed as was the wording of the questions, after research showed that pupils found the previous survey difficult to answer. It is likely that the increase in levels of reported drug use is due to this change in question1069W
format rather than a real change in behaviour. Because of this revised methodology the 2001 estimates on drug use are not strictly comparable with results from previous sweeps.
The estimates from previous years for those who reported ever having been offered at least one or more drug are 34 per cent. in 1998, 35 per cent. in 1999, and 35 per cent in 2000.
The estimates from previous years for those reporting use of an illegal drug in the previous year are 11 per cent. in 1998, 12 per cent. in 1999 and 14 per cent. in 2000.
Information regarding younger children is not available centrally.