Download pdf version
REGULAR USERS II
UK Drug Market Analysis
Purchasing Patterns and Prices (1997)
M. J. Atha S. Blanchard & S. Davis
the second in the series of IDMU Regular Users surveys,
examined anonymous questionnaires completed by 1136
cannabis users to assess changes in patterns of use
and prices of illicit drugs since previous surveys.
Prices of drugs other than cannabis, including bulk
prices, are included for the first time, in national
and regional tables. Most drug prices had fallen compared
to previous data from 1994 or 1995.
patterns: Most users purchase drugs when they have money
available, i.e. weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Daily
purchase is only common among heroin users. Cannabis
was purchased in amounts between 1/8oz (3.5g) and 1oz
(28g) in 92% of cases.
of the market shares of different cannabis varieties
reveal a substantial increase in consumption of domestically-produced
cannabis, 80% of this being flowering tops, at the expense
of imported herbal cannabis. Cannabis resin remains
the most common form of the drug.
of use of other drugs was similar to, or lower than,
in previous years, but with a significant increase in
the lifetime prevalence of ecstasy and to a lesser extent
amphetamine representing increased saturation of the
ecstasy market. Very few respondents reported daily
use of illicit drugs other than cannabis, confirming
findings of previous surveys. However around 20% of
respondents would use stimulants (amphetamine, ecstasy)
and 10% use hallucinogens (LSD, mushrooms) on a monthly
or weekly basis.
of the UK cannabis market is estimated between £1.7
billion and £9 billion per annum, by reference
to reported arrest rates, drug purchasing behaviour,
and cultivation and Home Office seizure and arrest statistics,
suggesting approximately 2 1/4 million regular cannabis
users using weekly or more often.
UK, regular use, cannabis, questionnaire, attitudes
of drug users, frequency of use, consumption, purchasing,
patterns of drug use, costs of use (legal drugs,
LSD, psilocybin, amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, crack,
ecstasy), cannabis market, street prices, routes
of administration, paraphernalia, plant cultivation,
drug subcultures, purity, drug offences.
Drug Monitoring Unit (IDMU Ltd) is a research consultancy
providing expert evidence to the courts in criminal
cases involving controlled drugs. We aim to provide
accurate, up to date, and impartial advice and information
on issues surrounding illegal drugs for all parties
to the debate on drugs policy.
wish to acknowledge the practical support and assistance
with distribution of the present and ongoing surveys
from, Hemp Expo, the Green Party Drugs Group, Linda
Hendry (LCC Scotland), the Cannabis Legalisation Campaign
International Association (CLCIA), Howard Marks &
Weed World magazine. Particular thanks are due to Dawn
Regan for the graphics on pages 7, 21 and 27. We also
appreciate assistance, information and/or encouragement
from John Witton (National Addiction Centre), Harry
Shapiro (ISDD), Malcolm Ramsey (Home Office), Prof Leslie
Iversen, Joy Mott (Police Foundation), Don Aitken, Barbara
Jacobson, Ben Ganly, Barry Mason, Paul Flynn MP, Mike
Goodman, Greg Poulter & Simon Kirkham (Release).
Special thanks are due to all those who participated
in the survey.
is Director of IDMU and Principal Consultant providing
expert evidence for the criminal courts on drugs cases
throughout the UK. Sean Blanchard is a freelance journalist
and researcher based in North London, he has written
and contributed to articles on drug issues and policy
for Police Review, the Guardian and others. Together
they have conducted a number of surveys of drug users
over the past 17 years. Simon Davis has a background
in youth work and the music and publishing industries,
he has been employed by IDMU since 1997.