Understanding Street Drugs: A Handbook of Substance Misuse for Parents, Teachers and Other Professionals

Understanding Street Drugs: A Handbook of Substance Misuse for Parents, Teachers and Other Professionals

Understanding Street Drugs: A Handbook of Substance Misuse for Parents, Teachers and Other Professionals

Understanding Street Drugs: A Handbook of Substance Misuse for Parents, Teachers and Other Professionals

Synopsis

This fully updated edition of the essential reference, Understanding Drugs, provides a complete overview of the key facts and core issues surrounding substance misuse. All commonly-used street drugs are covered, with quick reference guides, helpful body chart diagrams and clear information on each drug's effects, methods of use, legal status, availability, treatment options and associated slang. This edition includes new sections on ketamine, 'date-rape' drugs, and over-the-counter opiate-based drugs, and recent findings on the long-term effects of cannabis and its potential medicinal use, and discussion of the legalisation debate. This comprehensive handbook is an essential reference for teachers, social workers, youth workers, residential home managers, policy makers and parents, enabling readers recognise drug misuse and confidently offer information and guidance.

Excerpt

Since we set about writing the first edition of this book in 1996, much has changed in and around the drug scene in the UK. Drug usage has soared. There are an estimated five million regular users of illegal substances in the UK. A million of these have used cocaine within the past 12 months, a drug that is rapidly becoming a major part of the drug-using landscape and whose use has quadrupled within the past ten years. There are now also an estimated four million cannabis users in the UK, despite the drug being heavily implicated in concurrent mental-health and drugmisuse problems in patients that we see on an almost daily basis, the phenomenon known as 'dual diagnosis'. Yet the UK government has seen fit to reclassify cannabis from class B to class C, despite these well-established health concerns. Overall spending on drugs has now risen to an estimated £8 billion annually, despite most drugs having fallen in price. For example, in 1970 a gram of cocaine would have cost the equivalent of £300 in today's economic climate, but in 2004 it could be bought for as little as £30. Rap music, enjoyed by so many young people, often extols the virtues of drug usage and glorifies dealers, talking of rags-to-riches lifestyles full of easy money, easy women and glamorous living.

Among all this bad news, it is pleasing to note that many new services funded by central government have come into being in order to reduce drug-related deaths, stem drug-related crimes and increase treatment choices for those who wish to reduce or stop their drug usage. But, despite these new measures, we must also do whatever we can, both as individuals and in groups, to try to dissuade or divert young people from trying drugs in the first place or intervene at an early enough stage to save them from possible future legal, health and social problems. Therefore, we must continue to deliver education and prevention programmes, for they are still our best weapons in the fight against drugs.

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