Thursday, May 3, 2007

UK and Heroin.

I've been noticing since I've been keeping this blog searching for news updates relevant to heroin and addiction that there is a much higher number of heroin-related news stories coming from the than in the United States.

Every day, there is a story of a large drug bust or a human interest story of a family suffering from an addict's behavior or grieving because of an addict's overdose. I am unsure whether or not this is because heroin is a bigger problem in the UK or if there is just a greater interest in the issue.

With an estimated 320,000 drug addicts (based on the Telegraph's reported statistics), Britain apparently has the worst drug rate in Europe. However, at least according to 2005 statistics I was able to find, 19.7 million Americans are problem drug users.

While we hear about the "War On Drugs" in the news, occasionally, we seldom hear about the human element. I wonder if the reason that there are more stories of dead addicts and addicts' families in the UK news has to do with a cultural difference...a greater respect for the pain and losses that addiction causes.

The horrifying picture accompanying this post is from a UK public service ad. Pretty effective, eh?

1 comment:

gledwood said...

Hi I'm in the UK ... that figure of 320,000 approx refers to people on state methadone schemes whereas the American figure must surely mean people who e.g. use drugs every week (what IS the definition of a "problem user" ??)

I've noticed loads of UK based stuff as opposed to anywhere else. I thought it was bc I was using uk google to look ...

having said that drugs are EVERYWHERE here... judging by my street finds (I'm really good at finding dropped bags on the pavements) the most popular drugs are 1. cannabis (mostly grass) 2. crack 3. heroin. I've found the first too many times to remember, the second at least 10 times and the 3rd 6 or 7 times. There is an epidemic of drug use here and the attitude you come across here is almost that you're given official permission to use. E.g. if I'm stopped by the police I have no fear of telling them straight away that I'm a heroin addict. They usually ask me am I ok and getting treatment (methadone) which is yes but I still use on top ... All of which is sending out confusing mixed messages to the impressionable. It's almost like they're illegal on paper, but play the game and don't get caught with anything on you and you're fine. The stories of draconian treatment of addicts by police in America - well they just don't happen here (or if they do v rarely). Also you cannot get thrown into jail here for petty offences. You get automatic bail (without paying money) so by all accounts it's much easier to live a life of petty crime fuelled drug abuse here than it is in the USA ...

This is a v interesting site u got here. I will put it in my linxx list.