**PRESS RELEASE** As illegal drug use among children increases dramatically across England - charity calls for government to take control of market



Press Release  

07 Feb 2018

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As illegal drug use among children increases dramatically across England - charity calls for government to take control of market


In a new report published today based on the latest school survey, the NHS has revealed that annual drug use amongst 11-15 year olds has jumped from 15% in 2014 to 24% in 2016-2017. This represents a 60% increase in the number of children using drugs.


The report also shows a continued increase in drug-related deaths - the highest level since records began.


These figures are in stark contrast to recent evidence from Colorado where cannabis use among teenagers has fallen since they legalised cannabis in 2012.


Jane Slater, from Transform’s ‘Anyone’s Child’ campaign said,

“These shocking statistics are further evidence that the government's drug strategy has failed. Far from protecting children, it is endangering them.


“Too many children ignore prevention messages and use drugs anyway. Giving control of the market to organised crime and unregulated dealers increases children’s access to drugs, and the risks they face.


“We need a health based approach, not a criminal justice one. We need to take drug supply out of the hands of organised criminals and get the trade legally controlled and regulated by doctors, pharmacists and licensed retailers. Only that way can we more effectively protect our children.


“Countries across the world - including Uruguay, the US, and Canada are taking control of the cannabis market by legalising and regulating it  - we need to learn the lessons from these successes and move away from our failed drug war.”




Jane Slater, Anyone’s Child Coordinator, Transform 0117 325 0295




  1. Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control is an international network of families whose lives have been wrecked by current drug laws and are now campaigning to change them. http://anyoneschild.org/

  2. Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a UK and Mexico based think tank campaigning for the legal regulation of drugs www.tdpf.org.uk

  3. Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2018 – http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB30210

  4. Teen drug-use statistics in Colorado: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/11/following-marijuana-legalization-teen-drug-use-is-down-in-colorado/?utm_term=.9495485536a3

  5. UK Government Drug Strategy Evaluation – http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/press-release-uk-government-official-evaluation-our-drug-strategy-failure%E2%80%A6-home-office-carry

  6. Report ‘Will drug legalisation lead to an increase in use?’ –  http://www.tdpf.org.uk/resources/publications/will-drug-use-rise-exploring-key-concern-about-decriminalising-or-regulating

  7. Transform’s flagship publication – ‘After the war on drugs - Blueprint for Regulation’ http://www.tdpf.org.uk/resources/publications/after-war-drugs-blueprint-regulation