Findings from a survey about people in Scotland’s experiences of crimes have been published by the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) enables the Scottish population to share their experiences of, and attitudes to, a range of issues related to crime, policing and the justice system; including crime not reported to the police.
The survey examines trends, over time, in the number and nature of crimes in Scotland, providing a complementary measure of crime compared to police recorded crime statistics.
One of the sections of the survey focuses directly on illicit substance use. The aim of the illicit drug use questionnaire is to provide an insight into the prevalence of drug use in Scotland amongst those aged 16 or over.
Respondents were asked about their usage of 19 drugs. The majority of these drugs were illicit at the time of the survey, but the list also included some drugs which were not controlled. These were namely poppers, glues, solvents, gas or aerosol.
The key points from the 2017/18 SCJS illicit drug questionnaire include:
- Looking at comparable measures, where the drug types included in the survey are generally consistent over time, drug use has increased since 2014/15 from 6.0% to 7.4%, but is unchanged since 2008/09.
- 5% of respondents reported having taken one or more of any of the listed drugs in the last 12 months.
- 6% of adults reported that someone had offered to give or sell them at least one type of listed drug in the last 12 months.
- The most common age for first trying drugs was in the late teens (16 to 19 years old).
- The most commonly reported drug used in the last 12 months was cannabis. Cannabis was also the drug which respondents most commonly reported taking in their lifetime.
- Class B (which includes Cannabis) were the most commonly taken class of drugs in the last 12 months, with 71% of respondents who had taken any drug in the last 12 months having taken a Class B drug; 26% of respondents a Class A drug; and 7% a Class C drug.
- A higher percentage of male respondents than female respondents reported taking one or more illicit drug, both in the last 12 months and ever (9.4% compared to 5.5%, and 34.1% compared to 22.0%, respectively).
- Those aged 16 to 24 were most likely to have used drugs in the last 12 months, with almost one-in-five (19.2%) in this category reporting use compared to around one-in-two-hundred of those aged 60 and over(0.5%).
- Of those who were victims of crime, 14.2% reported having taken illicit drugs in the last 12 months. This is higher than the 6.4% of those who were not classified as victims of crime.
- Those living in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland were more likely to report having taken illicit drugs in the last 12 months (10.4%), than those who lived in the rest of Scotland (6.9%)