1 in 12 young people in the United Kingdom admitted to using illegal drugs, or abusing legal drugs, in order to get high. This statistic makes the UK the addiction capital of Europe.
Apparently the young people surveyed in the study, conducted by the Centre for Social Justice (the CSJ), are using up to 150 different substances. Cocaine, heroin, crack, and marijuana are on the list, but so are many, many more drugs that the UK is having a hard time regulating. The government has banned 15 drugs, but the rest are constantly changing, or are too transient to nail down and enforce against.
Alcohol is leading the pack in harmful drugs used to excess in the UK. The CSJ reports that 1 in 4 English adults drinks to the point of intoxication on a regular basis, and 1 in 20 are drinkers who are now physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol, meaning the body and the brain have become so accustomed to having alcohol present that they feel alcohol is needed for consistent functioning. When compared to the rest of the countries in Europe, women are most dependent on alcohol in the UK. British men, however, rank seventh overall in rates of alcohol dependence in Europe.
The Centre for Social Justice Speaks On the Results:
Chairwoman of the CSJ study and review, Noreen Oliver, shares her opinion on the country’s status as the addiction capital of Europe by saying: “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.”
On alcohol specifically, Oliver says, “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.”
The CSJ holds the government responsible for the growing drug problem, citing a failure to appropriately address the obvious heroin addiction epidemic and a failure to eliminate the availability of cheap alcohol.
The CSJ called the report No Quick Fix. Published in the report are alarming statistics on the UK’s addiction condition: two years ago, 28 people died as the direct result of an illegal high from one of the 150 substances available right now throughout the country. Last year that number went up to 52 deaths as the direct result of substance abuse. With over 130 websites selling the drugs that the government struggles to regulate, UK citizens have seemingly unlimited access to the substances that are creating unstoppable physical and psychological dependence, overdose, and deaths.
Other Aspects to the Growing Addiction Problem in the UK
According to the CSJ and its No Quick Fix report, a faster system of prohibition is needed to stop the spread of the 150 drugs available because the system that is currently in place cannot keep up. Further, 55% of councils in the UK, essentially branches of government, have experienced cuts in funding for treatment centers that can help those who are already dependent or addicted to various substances. Even with the Prime Minister’s push for more residential treatment programs, the reality is that people are unable to access good treatment in the UK.
Addiction in the United States
The US has its own set of addiction problems as well. Access to treatment is limited as well, but there are rehab facilities that are helping addicts make substantial life changes. Balboa Horizons is one of them. The treatment team creates a unique individual treatment plan for each and every client so that all aspects of the person are addressed.