Join 3,496 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Just saying no
February 24, 2011 2:07 AM   Subscribe

The number of young people taking drugs has fallen by 30% in 15 years How the British fell out of love with drugs
posted by fearfulsymmetry (44 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the article:

"The British Crime Survey tends to underestimate drug use (because it does not include people who are homeless, in prison, or living in student accommodation)"
posted by honest knave at 2:21 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The middle class got married (or moved to Australia) and real income is down. Social conditions have improved markedly for the poor, who are not aspirational in their drug consumption. Plus, enforcement is big so people have to be enterprising in their drug use, hence why people were really munching on things they found in plant nurseries. Britain has a lot of sincerity but the middle class wants to see what things do to their relationships. Hence why most drug use here involves socializing activities. Using alone is rare I have found. The government knows this and why many people have a light hand when it comes to tutting recreational activity and why treatment is so unregulated.

But there's not really a story in this article. It is not a supply problem. It's a socioeconomic condition that created the decline.
posted by parmanparman at 2:22 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


At least in the US it might this might be explained by the increase in the use and abuse of prescribed medications, the most commonly used prescription drug for adolescents here stateside? Central nervous system stimulants.
posted by tidecat at 2:23 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a socioeconomic condition that created the decline.

No man. It's just come full circle back to Mother's Little (legal) Helper.
posted by three blind mice at 2:33 AM on February 24, 2011


I think the real story is the explosion of readily available "designer drugs" in Europe, due to pharmacology outpacing legislation. People aren't doing "drugs" because they are doing over-the-counter medication, simply because it's cheaper and safer (safer since the #1 risk to drug use is prosecution). The article touches on mephedrone at the end but doesn't really go further, and makes the unfortunate statement that "In the first six months after its appearance in Britain, cocaine deaths fell inexplicably." Inexplicably? What? Cocaine deaths fell because everyone was doing mephedrone!

As far as I can tell, these statistics are blind to non-controlled substances. Take them with a HUGE grain of salt.
posted by mek at 2:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


the Brits never say no
posted by mannequito at 2:46 AM on February 24, 2011


No! No!! NO!!!

IT'S AN EPIDEMIC THREATENING OUR YOUTH I READ IT IN THE DAILY MAIL

Anyway, this will have little to no effect on drugs policy; PM/MPs from either side of the aisle are quite happy to fling drugs legislation at the houses, regardless of research and advice that they themselves have commissioned, because it's so very easy to bluster about the risk to children and so is a reliable, non-partisan way to gain a few electoral points. And the Mail or pretty much any other newspaper will quite happily join in with non-cited "scientific studies" by "experts" that back them up. If the number of drug users is increasing then it's an epidemic; if it's decreasing, then the legislation is clearly effective and must be doubled up on - that's how things are spun.
posted by Drexen at 2:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was interesting to me:

In any case, the rate of illegal drug use in Britain is still among the highest in the world.

Does this mean that there are numbers for all countries in the world, that we have some degree confidence in? Or is someone somewhere (maybe at the Grauniad) just making that up? Or maybe it's got to do with the definition of "illegal"? (Though that would seem tricky, as you'd then have to compare with things like some forms of consumption of alcohol in some Muslim countries, wouldn't you?) Any of those alternatives seem feasible to me, and maybe there are other possibilities I haven't thought of.
posted by XMLicious at 2:46 AM on February 24, 2011


XMLicious : In any case, the rate of illegal drug use in Britain is still among the highest in the world.

Does this mean that there are numbers for all countries in the world, that we have some degree confidence in? Or is someone somewhere (maybe at the Grauniad) just making that up?


Hmm! I've been looking for statistics to check this but haven't found any good ones that cover "illegal drugs" in general so far. Seems we're sixth-ish in cannabis use, at least?
posted by Drexen at 3:06 AM on February 24, 2011


XMLicious, I think you may be looking for the UN World Drug Report.
posted by Jakey at 3:22 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If true, wonder how much the apparent increase in alcohol consumption in the uk is a factor?
posted by SueDenim at 3:33 AM on February 24, 2011


Because pills and coke became really sh*t.
posted by Damienmce at 3:37 AM on February 24, 2011


Who needs drugs when you can go binge drinking? Hooray!

We didn't binge drink when I was young. We just went out and got pissed.
posted by Decani at 3:59 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


SueDenim/Decani: Alcohol consumption is also down. It's not spun that way, of course, because who's interested in a good story?
posted by Leon at 4:08 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


fearfulsymmetry:
The number of young people taking drugs has fallen by 30% in 15 years How the British fell out of love with drugs


Is it real ale? Please say it's real ale!
posted by paisley henosis at 4:09 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least in the US it might this might be explained by the increase in the use and abuse of prescribed medications, the most commonly used prescription drug for adolescents here stateside? Central nervous system stimulants.

Definitely more of a US than a UK thing, this, I think.

I think mek has it; the decline in the use of illegal drugs is due to the rise in the use of legal ones, concurrent with a massive decline in the quality of the illegal ones.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:47 AM on February 24, 2011


the hunger for intoxication never goes away. If you want proof, look at mephedrone. Under a variety of names, such as "miaow-miaow" and "M-Cat"

I now will not be able to die a happy man until I hear an English teenager shout at me, "OI GEEZER, YOU GOT ANY MIAOW MIAOW?"
posted by Greg Nog at 5:06 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I now will not be able to die a happy man until I hear an English teenager shout at me, "OI GEEZER, YOU GOT ANY MIAOW MIAOW?"

I think some of the kids call it "Clarky Cat."
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I thought drug use went down because the hippies started dying.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:36 AM on February 24, 2011


author of a new book, Illegal Leisure Revisited

Bollocks, another choice title for my memoirs bagged by academia.
posted by Abiezer at 5:37 AM on February 24, 2011


I can tell you that this "trend" is not what I'm seeing among my son (age 18) and his friends.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:37 AM on February 24, 2011


If they can also come up with figures showing increased consumption of pies, pints of mild and more wearing of flat caps, we may be returning to a Golden Age of British vernacular culture.
posted by Abiezer at 5:40 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Obscure Reference, a trend is a tendency, and will not apply in every situation. Those scarequotes were entirely surplus to requirements...
posted by Dysk at 5:46 AM on February 24, 2011


The number of young people taking drugs has fallen by 30% in 15 years...

The British Crime Survey tends to underestimate drug use (because it does not include people who are ... living in student accommodation)


Er...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:56 AM on February 24, 2011


In other news, if you don't count people not living in a house, Britain has almost zero problems with homelessness.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Luckily, binge drinking is not a problem because alcohol is not a drug.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:12 AM on February 24, 2011


In 2004, Pete Doherty (I am tempted to append "remember him?") was top of the NME's Cool List, with Mike Skinner – then an equally unashamed, if less problematic, drug-user – following in third. In 2007, the hobo stylings of Amy "Wino" Winehouse would follow.

The Cool List is decided by journos, who are primarily in their mid-20s, live in London, and are rockist. Outside of London, Doherty made little impact, and Winehouse is criticised for her style rather than her drug use. And drugs and clubbing have a closer relationship than drugs and listening to rock, so it's a bit like saying that sheep are less popular now people are buying more cats.
posted by mippy at 6:30 AM on February 24, 2011


Having said that, I'm 28 and have never been approached by a dealer, including when living in Manchester and now living in London. But this may be because I'm not a clubber, my friends aren't drug users for various reasons and so unlikely to know a dealer - I do know a couple of people who are heavy users, particularly on nights out.
posted by mippy at 6:31 AM on February 24, 2011


Oh is this the way they say the future's meant to feel?
Or just 20,000 people standing in a field.
And I don't quite understand just what this feeling is.
But that's okay cos we're all sorted out for E's and wizz.
And tell me when the spaceship lands cos all this has just got to mean something.

In the middle of the night,
it feels alright,
but then tommorow morning.
Oh then you come down.

Oh yeah the pirate radio told us what was going down.
Got the tickets from some fucked up bloke in Camden Town.
Oh and no-one seems to know exactly where it is.
But that's okay cos we're all sorted out for E's and wizz.
At 4 o'clock the normal world seems very, very, very far away.
Alright.

In the middle of the night,
it feels alright,
but then tommorow morning.
Oh then you come down.

Just keep on moving...
Everybody asks your name,
they say we're all the same and it's "nice one,"
"geezer"
but that's as far as the conversation went.
I lost my friends, I dance alone,
it's six o'clock, I wanna go home.
But it's "no way," "not today,"
makes you wonder what it meant.
And this hollow feeling grows and grows and grows and grows,
and you want to phone your mother and say,
"Mother, I can never come home again,
cos I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere,
somewhere in a field in Hampshire."
Alright.

In the middle of the night,
it feels alright,
but then tommorow morning.
Oh then you come down.

What if you never come down? 

posted by Artw at 6:43 AM on February 24, 2011


...And that song's 16 years old now. Many drug users won't have been born when it hit the charts/.

Yes, feel old.
posted by mippy at 6:55 AM on February 24, 2011


It'll take more than a 16 year old song by Pulp to make me feel old!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 7:09 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nobody's ever approached me out of the blue, wanting to buy drugs off of me....except for this one time when I was walking through Camden Town in London, and it happened about 6 times in the course of 15 minutes.

I still don't quite understand why that happened.
posted by schmod at 7:35 AM on February 24, 2011


You have to be sober to shoot up?
posted by srboisvert at 7:35 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'll take more than pills to make me feel up a 16 year old.
posted by lalochezia at 7:36 AM on February 24, 2011


I think it's poorly cut stuff for tourists and n00bs, schmod. I used to live with some New Zealanders who saw Camden as The Place To Score. One was on a 500cal per day diet and dropped an E and two bottles of wine. She wasn't very well afterward.
posted by mippy at 7:45 AM on February 24, 2011


I think some of the kids call it "Clarky Cat."

I hear it affects the part of the brain known as "Shatner's Bassoon."
posted by lumpenprole at 7:47 AM on February 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd be interested in PeterMcDermott's view about this - iirc he used to work with addicts in the Liverpool area and was always keeping up to date with information relating to drug use. Plus he's awesome.
posted by longbaugh at 7:51 AM on February 24, 2011


I'm sorry to hear this.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:50 AM on February 24, 2011


It seems hard to belive that drug use is higher in the U.K then, say, Columbia or Afghanistan.
posted by delmoi at 9:55 AM on February 24, 2011


SueDenim/Decani: Alcohol consumption is also down.
posted by Leon at 12:08 PM on February 24


Goddamn it. British kids are such pussies these days. Get on my lawn!
posted by Decani at 10:16 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The number of young people taking drugs has fallen by 30% in 15 years

It sounds like the finding is actually that the number of young people who admit to taking drugs (apparently in a face-to-face survey) has fallen by 30% in 15 years. Which is not necessarily the same thing.
posted by klausness at 10:31 AM on February 24, 2011


It seems hard to belive that drug use is higher in the U.K then, say, Columbia or Afghanistan.

Cocaine, as I understand it, is the cash crop par excellence.
posted by tigrefacile at 11:14 AM on February 24, 2011


XMLicious, I think you may be looking for the UN World Drug Report.

That's the kind of data that would answer my question but it contradicts what is said in the article in the OP; looking in section 4.2 Consumption it actually shows the sort of levels I would expect, such as the rate of usage of opiates being way, way higher in Afghanistan than in the UK. In fact the only category of drugs where the UK makes a good showing in that UN report is cocaine, otherwise the rates of illegal drug use in the UK are not "among the highest in the world."

So that report seems to indicate that either someone somewhere is making up the statement that the UK has rates of illegal drug use "among the highest in the world", or that there's some disagreement as to the numbers which isn't mentioned in the article.
posted by XMLicious at 11:17 AM on February 24, 2011


It sounds like the finding is actually that the number of young people who admit to taking drugs (apparently in a face-to-face survey) has fallen by 30% in 15 years.

Unless the legal risks of such an admission have drastically increased (which I don't believe to be the case) then the most likely explanation for this is the obvious one of a fall in consumption. Drug use can go in and out of fashion like anything else; 15 years ago rave culture was a great deal more popular than it seems to be nowadays.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2011


« Older The Caltech men's basketball team beat Occidental ...  |  Julian Assange is to be extrad... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments