Tackling problem drug use - Public Accounts Committee Contents

3  Preventing young people from becoming problem drug users

16. Measures to reduce problem drug use by young people have had limited impact. The 2008 strategy reported that the prevalence of Class A drug use by young people has stayed relatively unchanged since the first strategy in 1998.[39] The 2002 drug strategy included a target to reduce the use of Class A drugs and the frequent use of illicit drugs by young people by 2008 and, in particular, by the most vulnerable groups. It put a stronger focus on education, prevention and treatment to tackle problem drug use by young people.[40]

17. The Agency told us there were indications that the number of under 24 year olds coming into treatment for heroin or crack cocaine had started to reduce. However, it acknowledged that it would not know the picture for certain until the University of Glasgow, which had researched prevalence, had reported again.[41] The Department reported that overall drug use by young people had declined over the last ten years, and that drug related deaths among young people were very rare.[42]

18. Most young problem drug users found it very difficult to keep off drugs following drug treatment, due to a culture of drug use and crime among the people they knew.[43] We were told that for young people, peer pressure from friends was a key factor.[44] The Department reported that drug use was often passed from generation to generation, requiring a big emphasis on treating families.[45]

19. Middlegate Lodge in Lincolnshire had offered long-term, one-to-one, residential treatment for young people. However, the Children's Partnership in Lincolnshire had closed Middlegate Lodge, in line with the strategy of the Department for Children, Schools and Families to provide services for young people in their own communities.[46]

39   HM Government, Drugs: protecting families and communities: The 2008 Drug Strategy, page 22 http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/ Back

40   Home Office, Updated Drug Strategy 2002, http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/ Back

41   Q 66 Back

42   Q 56 Back

43   Q 53 Back

44   Q 53 Back

45   Q 45 Back

46   Qq 12-16 Back

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