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Cocaine drives increase in Class A drug use

By Nigel Praities

Drugs use has fallen overall compared with a decade ago, but rising cocaine use has driven an increase in Class A drug use according to figures from the NHS Information Centre published today.

In 2006/07 one in ten adults living in England and Wales had used one or more illicit drug in the last year, a decrease from 12% in 1998. According to the survey, 6% had used an illicit drug in the last month, a one percent fall from 1998.

The report blamed a large increase in cocaine powder use for an increase in Class A drug use, which increased from 2.7% in survey year 1998 to 3.4% in 2006/07.

Childhood drugs use also fell, with 10% of pupils in England aged 11 to 15 reporting taking drugs in the last month, a fall from 12% in 2001.

The number of people accessing structured drugs treatment services has doubled in a decade, and hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug related mental health and behavioural disorder have fallen.

But hospital admissions for poisoning through drug use have increased by over 40%, from 7,057 in 1996/97 to 10,047 in 2006/07.

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