Yesterday’s Times published a new report by the Home Office showing that although illegal drug use has fallen among the young in the past year, it has increased among older adults for the past 18 years. But Why?
To put the figures into perspective, the Home Office report showed that the proportion of people aged 16 to 39 saying they had taken illegal drugs in the past year was down from 17.4% in 1996 to 13% in 2014/15, and among those aged 40 to 59 the proportion rose from 2.5% to 3.6%. That makes more than half a million people in that age group took drugs in the past year, which further broke down to 400,000 smoking Cannabis and 92,000 using cocaine. Roughly half the middle-aged Cannabis users were taking the drug more than once a month, and about 0.6% of teh 40 to 59-year-olds had used powder cocaine in the past year.
Why these figures caught my eye is that because that 3.6% is also around the figure usually given (between 3 and 4%) to quantify the number of adult people with adhd in the population. Both cocaine as a stimulant and marijuana as a relaxant are both potential useful drugs for adults to manage their adhd, and more than a few adult ADHD-ers end up in deep water abusing these illegal street drugs – either in jail, with criminal records, or in unhealthy addiction patterns.
As the Op Ed for the Times reads “More and more middle-aged people are taking recreational drugs. Surprising as this may sound a better way of understanding the same phenomenon could be to say that more and more drug users are reaching middle age”. While the Op ed ends by saying that “Others may take comfort from the likelihood that as numbers of older users rise, numbers of younger ones are likely to slump yet further. After all, there’s nothing less cool than being like your gran”. I wonder if it might be a nation of undiagnosed Adult ADHDers self medicating without knowing why they still need and enjoy the feeling, while their contemporaries have long since opted for Ovaltine and an early night in.
What do you think?