UK Drugs Unlimited: New Research and Policy Lessons on Illicit Drug Use

UK Drugs Unlimited: New Research and Policy Lessons on Illicit Drug Use

UK Drugs Unlimited: New Research and Policy Lessons on Illicit Drug Use

UK Drugs Unlimited: New Research and Policy Lessons on Illicit Drug Use

Synopsis

This book describes the diverse nature of contemporary drug use in Britain, from club kids to addicts. It investigates why current drug policy is floundering.

Excerpt

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The UK has an exceptionally drug involved population. This chapter demonstrates this by comparing drug use, especially ‘recreational’ use involving young people, with North American and European prevalence rates. During the 1990s Britain saw widespread problematic heroin use develop in many of its poor communities for the first time. Out of this its drugs interventions industry began to develop especially around treatment regimes and harm reduction programmes. These early developments are summarised.

Straight on the heels of its first heroin epidemic the UK saw an unprecedented expansion in young people's recreational drug trying. This growth continued across the 1990s to the extent that the normalisation of recreational drug use is probably the best conceptual explanation. However a key question posed here is what will happen as drugwise, drug experienced children of the 1990s become young adult citizens in the new millennium? Will they carry their drug use, mainly of cannabis and the dance drugs with them as ‘twentysomethings’?

In response to all this the UK began to develop a drug strategy. The first attempt to formalise this began in the early 1990s. It was strong on war on drugs rhetoric and weak in all other respects. However at the new millennium there is a new more coherent, well resourced strategy with ambitious targets to prevent and reduce drug use and associated problems. This chapter thus sets up the conundrum: how effectively will the new approach deal with the realities and complexities of UK drugs?

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