Extent of drug misuse
Demand for drugs
Supply of drugs
Problems of drug misuse
This chapter gives an overview of the extent of drug misuse and provides a context for the discussion covered in the remainder of the book. It focuses mainly on the UK, but includes references to other countries as appropriate. The chapter begins by looking at the types of drugs misused, the kinds of people who take them and the number of drug users in the population. It then examines the sources of supply of drugs entering the country, the types of drugs supplied and the nature of drug markets. Finally, the chapter considers some of the problems associated with drug misuse, including the problems of addiction and dependence, health problems, economic and social costs, and drug-related deaths.
The early part of the chapter makes a distinction between measures of the demand and supply for drugs. While the two concepts are similar, in that for every buyer there is a seller, the methods of measuring drug misuse often fall into one or other of these two categories. The section on demand discusses the nature and extent of the population of drug users. The section on supply discusses the origins and distribution of drugs.
Information about the extent of drug use can be obtained by looking at general populations, offender populations and drug-user populations.