Drugs: Government's New Targets

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The Independent Online
HEROIN AND cocaine are the two key drugs identified in the Government's new strategy, which also aims to educate children about the dangers of abuse and provide better treatment. The "tough new targets" to tackle drug misuse in the next 10 years focus on a range of key areas:

n Treatment - to increase the numbers in treatment programmes by 66 per cent by 2005 and 100 per cent by 2008. There are about 30,000 people currently being treated in the UK, and an estimated 200,000 abusers.

n Young people - to reduce the proportion of people under 25 using heroin and cocaine by 50 per cent by 2008 and 25 per cent by 2005, and for all other drugs by a "substantial" amount. The Government also wants to reduce by 20 per cent the numbers of 11- to 16-year-olds who use class A drugs, and to set up programmes involving life-skills approaches in all schools, the youth service, further education, the community, and with parents, based on good practice.

n Communities - reduce the level of repeat offending among drug misusing offenders by 50 per cent by 2008 and 25 per cent by 2005. In 1997 113,000 people in England and Wales were convicted of drugs offences. These community measures will include researching how many people are absent from work or who have accidents because of their drug use.

n Availability - to reduce access to all drugs among young people aged under 25 "significantly", and to reduce access to the drugs which caused the greatest harm, particularly heroin and cocaine, by 50 per cent by 2008 and 25 per cent by 2005. Seizures of heroin and cocaine should increase and assets taken from drug traffickers should rise by a third by 2002 to about pounds 7m. Also to reduce the rate of positive results from random drug testing from 20 per cent in 1998/1999 to 16 per cent.