Drug addiction in the UK has always been of serious concern, and yet, alarmingly, recent studies have found illicit drug use, and the rampant crime to come with it, to be on a steady rise. Studies show that in the last year, 3 million UK citizens have abused illegal substances, and these substances are reportedly as easy to acquire as ordering a pizza. 

And addicts are making full use of this easy access – an investigation found that it took only 27 minutes to receive an order of cocaine in Leeds. Cocaine is just one of the hard drugs being abused in the UK, with over 300000 people abusing opiates and crack cocaine last year. Reports indicate that the illegal drug market is worth about 9.4 billion pounds a year, a staggering amount.


With these new alarming figures in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently abused substances in the UK right now.


A common misconception about cannabis is that it’s a non-addictive substance. On the contrary, the threat of cannabis dependence is very real, and the cannabis being used by UK citizens today is very different from the strains used in the 1970s. Its strength and potency have increased dramatically. 

Like all other drugs, cannabis has an effect on the brain, changing the areas responsible for reward and reinforcement. We develop a stronger drive to partake in activities associated with that drug. Not only that, but cannabis is scientifically proven to have a serious effect on the developing brain, with a higher risk of cannabis dependency developing in users under 18.


Cannabis addiction in the UK



Powdered cocaine, or ‘coke’, is the most widely abused stimulant in the UK. It’s commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into the veins. Cocaine is shown to increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, creating feelings of intense happiness and disconnect from reality. 

With rises in depression and anxiety, this recreational drug has seen a steep rise during the lockdown. Dependency can occur, and an increase in dosage to chase that high often results in a life-threatening drug overdose

Cocaine addiction in the UK


More commonly known as pain killers, opioids are just one of the prescription drugs being abused in the UK under lockdown. Addicts chase the feeling of relaxation, euphoria and disconnect it provides, and addicts have been shown to increase their dosage and take painkillers when they have no need to. Prescription painkillers can be found and acquired through the illegal drug trade, and come with the same risks of addiction, dependence and overdose as illicit drugs.

You can read more about what prescription and even over-the-counter medications are being abused in lockdown, and how to pursue help for these addictions, in our accompanying blog here.

Opioid addiction in the UK

Seeking Treatment for Drug Addiction in the UK

If you or someone you love has developed a drug addiction during the lockdown, there is still hope. While it’s easy to feel alienated and a strong sense of disassociation during social distancing, there are still programs in place to support addicts on the road to recovery, particularly in-house treatment. As the situation stands, it’s recommended to pursue in-clinic treatment for drug abuse, where patients can find a strong support structure, medical care, and a much-needed removal from the environment that led to drug abuse in the first place.  


With Rehab Helper, you can make your first step in the road to recovery all the easier. We’ve compiled an extensive list of UK rehabilitation centres for you to find the perfect rehab treatment for you. No matter what substance or dependence you suffer from, you can find a treatment plan that will best accommodate and support you on your road to sobriety.

If you have any questions about any of our listed rehabs and programs, get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to assist you with any queries you may have.


Open chat
Hoi 👋

Hoe kunnen we u helpen?