Britain winning fight against heroin and crack cocaine - but use of synthetic drugs such as mephedrone soars
Fewer than 300,000 people of any age now use the drugs in England
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Wednesday 06 March 2013
Britain is winning the war against heroin and crack cocaine with a 10 per cent fall in users over five years, the head of a leading drugs organisation said today.
Paul Hayes, chief executive of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, said among under 35’s the numbers were “not falling, but plummeting” thanks to a “world class drug treatment system”.
But critics warned that while use of traditional drugs like heroin and cocaine was falling, use of synthetic drugs such as mephedrone was soaring – and more difficult to control.
Mr Hayes, speaking at the final press conference for the NTA before it is wound up and merged into Public Health England from 1 April, criticised Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who said in December that Britain was “losing the war against drugs on an industrial scale.”
“If this is failure, I don’t know what success looks like,” Mr Hayes said.
The number of registered addicts was down below 300,000, the number injecting drugs was below 100,000 and treatment programmes had cut offending rates, preventing almost 5 million crimes.
Mr Hayes warned local authorities they must maintain funding for drug treatment after April 1 against competing priorities. “The public get it – they realise drug addiction is a major driver of crime and that treatment is not just benefiting the individual users, whom they may not like, but is also benefiting them.”
Martin Barnes, chief executive of Drugscope, said the decline was “encouraging evidence that the heroin epidemic of the 1980s was being reversed.”
“However, there can be absolutely no room for complacency. While overall drug use has fallen, new drugs and patterns of drug use are emerging, including new psychoactive substances and greater harms associated with so-called ‘club drugs’ such as ketamine, GBL and mephedrone.”
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her