Drug related crime is a huge concern within the UK. Not only does it cause severe damage and distress to victims, it also increases pressure on the police, prison services, and impacts the healthcare system, as well as the health and wellbeing of those addicted to harmful substances.

According to Statista, in 2022/23 there were 177,994 drug offences in England and Wales, compared with 179,215 in the previous year. For the period between 2002/03 and 2022/23, drug offences in England and Wales peaked in 2008/09 when there were over 243,000 instances.

This data reinforces the fact that drug related crime continues to be an issue within the UK, with crime rates showing no signs of dwindling.

Within this article, we have explored drug related crime within the UK.

Drugs and the law

Drugs are illegal in the UK and it’s not just dealers that face legal action if they are caught – those carrying drugs can also face criminal action, even if they only intended to use them for recreational purposes

With this in mind, it’s important that you understand the UK’s stringent laws surrounding drug classifications, possession and intent to supply.

In the UK, it is illegal:

  • To have or own drugs
  • To supply anyone with drugs
  • To import or export drugs
  • To allow premises you own, rent, use, or occupy to be used for any drug-related activity
  • To make drugs.

How drugs are classified

When it comes to understanding more about drug crime, it’s also important to familiarise yourself with the classification of drugs in the UK.

Drugs are placed into one of three categories according to how dangerous they are. The impact they have on different areas of society is also taken into consideration.

The three categories of drugs are Class A, Class B and Class C:

  • Class A drugs – ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, and LSD
  • Class B drugs – speed, cannabis, ketamine, mephedrone and some amphetamines
  • Class C drugs – anabolic steroids, GHB and some tranquilisers

How much crime is drug related?

In the UK, there is a huge link between drugs and crime, with those who become dependent on drugs often turning to crime in order to feed their habit. Crimes such as theft, burglary, fraud, and shoplifting are all widely linked to drug related crime.

There is also a link between violence and drug use, with research indicating that people who commit violent offences are often under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time. For example, it’s not uncommon for those under the influence are often responsible for committing serious crimes such as murders, stabbings, manslaughters, and half of domestic assaults.

Cost of drug-related crime

According to the UK Drug Policy Commission, drug related crime costs an estimated £13.5 billion in England and Wales alone. Not only this, but problem drug users are much more likely to be found within the criminal justice system than within the wider population.

Furthermore, data has also revealed that the annual cost of drug abuse to businesses in the UK is £100 billion, and alcohol addiction sets employers back £7.3 billion a year.

Where can you get help for addiction?

At ANA, we work closely with our clients to help rebuild their lives, to gain confidence and self-worth and to believe that they can live a healthy, responsible, and productive life, free of addictive substances.

Contact ANA today, our friendly team is on hand and ready to help/