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Tags are what WordPress calls is keywords. I attach a small number of tags to every post to help people navigate between content with the same keywords. Tags may be people (David Gauke say), organisations (The Howard League, Revolving Doors Agency), themes (women offenders, homelessness) or specific items (heroin, cocaine, ROTL). If you’re looking to research a particular issue, they can be invaluable.
FEWS obtained and analysed 2,074 samples over the year from the internet, headshops, music festivals, the police and health clinics in order to identify NPS which are present in the UK or being offered for sale in the UK market.
Young people’s choice of substances changes rapidly in response to fashion and availability (and price). It will be interesting to see whether the current generation of young drug users reduce their usage as they get older to the same extent as previous generations appear to have done.
It is clear that this group of drugs will be a priority for the EMCDDA to monitor over the coming years and that drug treatment agencies probably need to develop their understanding of legal highs and make sure they advertise that there is help available for those developing problems with their use.
It will be interesting to see whether the appointment of Michael Gove as Justice Secretary will have any impact on this parlous state of affairs. Clearly, the problems are becoming so entrenched that it will be difficult for much positive change to take place if, as is widely feared, the MoJ takes another big hit in the current spending review whose results will be announced in November 2015.
Drug consumption rooms are currently the subject of political discussion in some European countries as calls for their implementation are debated. As frontline, low-threshold services, drug consumption rooms are often among the first to gain insights into new drug use patterns and thus they also have a role to play in the early identification of new and emerging trends among the high-risk populations using their services.
Earlier this month the EMCDDA published its annual European Drugs Report. My experience is that these reports get more useful every year. In addition to the opportunity to see how UK drug use both resembles and differs from patterns of use in different parts of the continent, the report also gives a very useful heads-up on trends in how countries respond to the issue of drugs. This year’s report focuses in particular on: Drug market dynamics – global influences and local differences; Trends in drug use and Developments in health and social responses
The Global Drug Survey becomes more valuable every year; this year over 100,000 people completed the survey. The survey is very different from research such as the Crime Survey for England and Wales because it is typically completed by regular, mainly recreational, drug users. The findings make fascinating reading and I recommend that you find time for a browse.
Although it is obvious that the main reason that such large quantities of drugs get into prison is to feed the demand of the many dependent drug users inside, it has long been a significant concern that as many as one in five heroin users took the drug for the first time in custody.