§ Mr. Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 3 February 1998,Official Report, column 614, what are the percentages of(a) females and (b) males who have used an illegal drug by the age of (i) 16 and (ii) 24 years. 
§ Ms Jowell
The information available centrally is given in the table.
Percentage of males and females who indicated that they had ever taken drugs, 1996, England and Wales Age 16 to 19 Age 20 to 24 Males 48 57 Females 42 43 Persons 45 49
Percentages rounded to the nearest whole figure.
1996 British Crime Survey
For males and females aged 15 to 16 a schools based survey conducted by McMiller and Plant (British Medical Journal 1996, 313, 394–97) found that 45 per cent, of boys and 40 per cent, of girls aged 15 to 16 in the United Kingdom reported ever using illicit drugs.