Wednesday, April 28, 2021

England's Most Popular Drugs

The most popular illegal drug in London (after cannabis) is cocaine. In fact cocaine is the drug of choice for much of the southeast of England, except for Hertfordshire (heroin) and the Thames Valley (anabolic steroids). In South Wales benzodiazepines are the most popular drug (after cannabis), while in much of the north of England amphetamines are very popular.

The Most Popular Drugs Map uses Home Office data on the most seized drugs to map the most popular drug (after cannabis) in each region of England & Wales. Like a lot of these 'most popular' maps the map actually doesn't actually show the most popular thing but the second most popular thing in each region. This is because cannabis is the most seized drug in every region of England & Wales and the map wouldn't be very interesting without showing some regional differences.

As well as revealing an interesting amphetamine - cocaine divide between north and south England I find the map interesting in how it is being used by the Reach company of regional newspapers. I have linked to the map on the Yorkshire Live website but I could have linked to copies of the map on hundreds of different local newspaper websites. Reach PLC, who publish 240 regional newspapers in the UK, produce a lot of these faux local data visualizations across their stable of regional papers. By creating an 'interesting' national map they can post the same article across the whole stable of regional newspapers simply by changing a few words in the accompanying article (pulling out the local data to give the article that local focus).

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