Select Committee on Home Affairs Memoranda


Drug Trends

  1.  The following pages represent data from IDMU surveys conducted between 1984 and 2000. Surveys were all conducted using anonymous questionnaires distributed at pop festivals and other outdoor events. A number of "core" questions appear each year, allowing year on year comparisons to be made. The number of respondents in each year were as follows:



  2.1  The lifetime prevalence of using most drugs has remained relatively stable among the user population as a whole, however amphetamine and LSD appear to be declining steadily, whereas cocaine and ecstasy appear to be increasing slightly. Prevalence of magic mushroom use (not shown) is similar to that of LSD. Crack and Ecstasy were not listed options in 1984, although one per cent mentioned MDA as a write-in option. Users of crack in 1984 (then known as freebase) did not report it directly, but some of the cocaine would have been used in that form.

3.  Frequency of use

  3.1  Users of each drug were asked to state how often they used the drug. Other than cannabis and legal drugs (caffeine, tobacco, alcohol), there were few daily users, with experimental or occasional use the norm.


  4.1  Prices of cannabis resin have been falling steadily since 1994, actually having peaked in the late 1980s, with the most substantial falls seen since 1998. Data for a range of cannabis resin and herbal varieties are available, only the most common Moroccan/Soap Bar resin is shown. Prices for imported herbal cannabis are also in decline, as is the market share, which has been overtaken by domestically produced cannabis (skunk). Skunk prices have remained relatively stable, with roughly a 50 per cent price premium as compared to resin.

  4.2  Prices of amphetamine have again remained relatively stable, although the average purity has increased substantially. LSD prices are becoming less commonly reported, and remain stable. Ecstasy prices have fallen by nearly 50 per cent since 1995, and the fall appears to be continuing.

  4.3  Prices of cocaine and crack have remained stable, although the purity of cocaine is increasing at street level. Heroin prices have fallen sharply since 1995, with purities currently at historically high levels. Heroin is very rarely "cut" in the UK, with differences normally arising in the country of manufacture, and are likely to vary with climate conditions in the producer country (analogous to "vintages" in wine production).


  5.1  Drug Users were asked to rate each drug (whether or not they had used it) on a scale of 0-10, with 0 the most negative and 10 the most positive rating. These figures give an indication of the popularity and/or social acceptability of particular drugs within the subculture. Note this data was only collected from 1994 onwards.

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