A Home Office report which was published in July has revealed that illegal drug use amongst middle-aged Brits has risen rapidly over the past 18 years.
This is a stark comparison to drug use amongst 16 to 39 year-olds which was down from 17.4% in 1999 to just 13% in 2014-15. Over the same period, the use of illegal substances in the 40 to 59 year age group has risen from 2.5% to 3.6%.
In the last year alone, the data found that over half a million middle-aged adults in Britain had taken illegal drugs. Of these, 92,000 said they used cocaine and a staggering 400,000 smoked cannabis. Amongst the cannabis users, around half admitted to smoking the substance more than once a month.
In a bid to explain these surprising findings, drug experts have argued that more middle-aged adults are taking illegal drugs because it’s a habit they have continued from their teenage years. Speaking about drug use amongst students in the 1970s, Drug Addiction Expert Cathy Simmons commented:
“All the cannabis and weed that was available then was much tamer than the skunk that is around now. Drug takers in the ‘70s didn’t have the variety there is now and it could be argued that it wasn’t deemed as dangerous as what is available now so they may have continued on a recreational basis.”
Furthermore, whilst there is plenty of information around today about the dangers of illegal highs, back in the ‘70s, this will all relatively unknown and taking drugs was therefore seen as ‘normal’. It seems as though this generation is struggling to shake off this idea and another drug expert, Harry Shapiro suspects that older people who smoke cannabis recreationally, regard is as ‘not much different’ than someone who decides to have a gin and tonic at home.
If you think that you or someone you know could have a problem with drugs, please feel free to visit our Drug Addiction and Rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available. If you would like to discuss treatment you can call Life Works today.