Figures for England in 1998 show the first downturn in the number of schoolchildren ever having used a drug.
Nine out of 10 young people living on the streets are thought to be using illegal drugs.
Use of dance drugs (ecstasy, amphetamines, poppers and LSD) is prevalent but decreasing, while cocaine use is on the increase, particularly in London and the north of England.
A third of 19 to 24-year-olds have used at least one dance drug.
Opiates still claim the greatest number of drug-related deaths in England and Wales, with 700 deaths due to heroin or morphine in 1997, virtually the same as the previous year.
Source: Office for National Statistics, 1999