UK 'hub' for 'legal high' sites

The UK has been labelled as the "addiction capital" of Europe, according to a new report by the Centre of Social Justice. The report, No Quick Fix, suggests the UK has become a hub for websites peddling dangerous ‘legal highs'.

Think-tank criticises government over tackling drug use

A major new report over the UK's drug and alcohol use shows the "stark reality" of addiction, the chairwoman of the Centre of Social Justice review said today.

Noreen Oliver added:

Despite some slow progress in this last three years, much more needs to be done to tackle the root causes of addiction so that people have a better chance of breaking free.

Alcohol is taking an increasing toll across all services in the UK and new emerging drugs are causing more harm - all the while funding to rehabilitation centres is being dramatically cut and methadone prescribing is being protected.

Key statistics over UK alcohol and drug use

The Centre of Social Justice has criticised the government for what it calls an "inadequate response to heroin addiction" in the UK, after it published a new report suggesting that the UK has some of the highest rates of opiate addiction and dependence on alcohol.

According to the report:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse costs the UK £21 billion and £15 billion respectively
  • 40,000 drug addicts in England have been stranded on the substitute methadone
  • Rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England doubles in a decade
  • One in 12 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the UK - more than 670,000 - said they have taken "legal highs" or new psychoactive substances (NPS)
  • In England 6,486 people were treated in 2011/12 for abusing these types of drugs, an increase of 39% since 2005/06
  • Figures revealed deaths involving "legal highs" in England and Wales increased from 29 in 2011 to 52 last year

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Drug and alcohol crisis in UK 'fuelling breakdown'

The drug and alcohol crisis is fuelling a social breakdown in Britain, the director of the Centre of Social Justice said today, after a report found that 'legal highs' were widely available from UK websites.

Christian Guy said:

While our addiction problem damages the economy, it is the human consequences that present the real tragedy.

Drug and alcohol abuse fuels poverty and deprivation, leading to family breakdown and child neglect, homelessness, crime, debt, and long-term worklessness.

From its impact on children to its consequences for pensioners, dependency destroys lives, wrecks families and blights communities.