Club Drugs Taking Over Heroine in UK

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At their launching of a specialist drug clinic in the UK, experts shared that “Club Drug” abuse in the UK is on the rise. Many young people are now ditching cocaine and heroine, in exchange of mephedrone and ketamine. According to consultant and psychiatrist Dr. Owen Bowden-Jones, the manufacturers of these drugs constantly reinvent and repackage these drugs in order to evade drug legislations and leave health care experts and professionals helpless in dealing with these trends of substance abuse.

“Patterns of drug use in the UK are changing and over the last two or three years we have continued to see an increase in the use of “club drugs”,” says Bowden-Jones.

In a British Crime survey, it was shown that around 300,000 people in UK, for the year 2010, used the chemical drug Mephedrone. This is very common among 16-24 year old people and the same statistic is also similar to the numbers recorded for cocaine abuse. Both Ketamine and Mephedrone are banned in Britain, however, there is rampant use of these club drugs among the “legal highs” or people who are immune from the authorities.

“There are new drugs emerging all the time, particularly a group of substances known as “legal highs”. The health risks associated with excessive use of club drugs are underestimated by many people and little is known about the potential problems of the newer drugs,” says Bowden-Jones. “There are people who are running into major difficulty and are not aware of what dangers might be,” he added.

In the year 2010 and the first four months of 2011, the EMCDDA or the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction has recorded 41 and 20 new drugs, respectively.

“We are seeing a whole plethora of different compounds that are being misused and are to a certain extent replacing more traditional drugs like heroin and crack cocaine,” according to John Ramsey, who is a toxicologist at St George’s Hospital Medical School.

“The problem is knowing what to do about them. The way forward is evidence-based research but that is difficult when these compounds have never undergone pharmaceutical testing,” says Ramsey. “Many people experiencing club drug problems do not see current treatment services as well equipped to help them. As a result they do not seek treatment,” he further added.

In their website, the World Health Organization recognized that psychoactive substances are substances that, when taken in or administered into one’s system, affect mental processes, e.g. cognition or affect. This term and its equivalent, psychotropic drug, are the most neutral and descriptive term for the whole class of substances, licit and illicit, of interest to drug policy. ‘Psychoactive’ does not necessarily imply dependence-producing, and in common parlance, the term is often left unstated, as in ‘drug use’ or ‘substance abuse’.

-          The harmful use of alcohol results in 2.5 million deaths each year.

-          320,000 young people between the age of 15 and 29 die from alcohol-related causes, resulting in 9% of all deaths in that age group.

-          At least 15.3 million persons have drug use disorders.

-          Injecting drug use reported in 148 countries, of which 120 report HIV infection among this population.




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