This is odd…

We know that drug use is coming down.  It’s confirmed again by the NHS in their annual report, Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2012.  That’s not news – all the prevalence data that is being reported is from the surveys that were published in July this year.

What is new is what hospitals are reporting about people who come to them with drug problems.

And now we know that the numbers of young people reported as needing hospital attention because of drugs is on the rise and is now higher than it has been than at any time in the last decade.

Under 16s - drugs and hospital

You’ll see this is true of under 16s as well as older young adults.

Hospital, drugs 16 -24 yrs

The report itself offers some explanation for these rises:

It should be noted that comparisons over time using primary and secondary diagnosis codes are complicated by changes in recording practices over the period. All hospital episodes have a primary diagnosis, but the number of secondary diagnoses used depends on the circumstance. At a national level there has been an increase in the coding of secondary conditions. It is likely that increases in secondary diagnoses are at least partly due to improvements in diagnosis and improvements in recording which will need to be taken into consideration when looking at this time series.

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