The report, entitled No Quick Fix, was put together by the Centre for Social Justice and warns that the UK has turned into a hub of activity for websites peddling ‘legal highs’. In the report the CSJ also points out that drink and drug abuse is costing the UK a staggering £36 billion a year.
The report found that last year 52 people in England and Wales died due to legal highs, a number that has risen from 28 the previous year. On top of this, the CSJ has criticised the government for not tackling the availability of cheap alcohol and heroin addiction.
The legal highs in question are often described as bath salts or research chemicals and can be sold completely legally as long as they have a warning stating ‘not for human consumption’. Despite their legality, these drugs have been known to cause health problems and even death.
According to the report, there are now a worrying 130 UK-registered websites that sell these products cheaply by mail order. The CSJ revealed that one in 12 young people in the UK admit to taking legal highs – the highest number in Europe.
The think tank believes a faster system of prohibition is needed; 150 new substances have emerged on the market in the last three years and only 15 have been banned in the same time period by the government.
Chairwoman of the CSJ review, Noreen Oliver said:
“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.”
If you are struggling with addiction, seeking help from a counsellor is an important first step to recovery. To find out more, please see our Addictions page.
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