Drug Use Among Wealthy On The Rise In U.K.

By McCarton Ackerman 10/07/14

Almost half of the survey participants admitting to using drugs are either middle or upper middle class.

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A new survey has found that drug use is on the rise overall in the United Kingdom, but it’s increasingly becoming a pastime for the wealthy.

The Guardian newspaper published their findings, which showed that 31% of British adults had consumed illegal drugs at some point in their lifetime, up from 27% when a similar survey was published in 2008.

Approximately 21% of those adults—roughly three million people—are still using illegal substances. Among those still doing drugs, 40% of them would be classified as either middle class or upper middle class. Eight percent of the population spends 200 pounds, or $319 per month on drugs.

The age group most into drug taking are those between ages 35 to 44, with 47% of those using illegal substances falling into this demographic. However, women and men are now equally likely to use illegal substances, a stark difference from the 2008 survey which showed that men were more prone to using drugs. Marijuana was by far the most commonly used drug at 93%, followed by amphetamines at 34%, cocaine at 29%, and ecstasy at 25%.

But despite the increased admission of drug use, there still appears to be some denial on this front. Ninety-six percent of parents surveyed said they believed their children would never take drugs.

However, the UK is attempting to put plans in place to address issues throughout the country with alcohol. The Centre for Social Justice proposed a ring-fenced "treatment tax" that would raise the cost of alcohol bought in shops by 2p per unit by 2024, which would ultimately raise $240 million per year to help pay for addiction treatment. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have been pushing for across-the-board decriminalization of all drugs.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.