Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

Suffolk: Rise in number of young addicts seeking treatment as drug arrests of the young increase

15:30 23 April 2014

Fears that cocaine, heroin and cannabis have become more attractive to take

Fears that cocaine, heroin and cannabis have become more attractive to take

Archant

A proliferation of drugs has led to rising numbers of Suffolk drug addicts seeking treatment at a younger age, according to a leading counsellor.

shares

Chip Somers said as an increasing variety of drugs have become more widely available the age of users has come down.

Mr Somers, founder of the Bury St Edmunds drug rehabilitation charity Focus 12, believes cocaine, heroin, and cannabis have become more attractive to take compared with 20 years ago. He also warned of the growing dangers of party drugs such as ketamine and substances known as legal highs which he claims need to be taken more seriously.

Mr Somers said: “Without doubt the presenting age of clients has been getting much younger, and rapidly so, in the last five or six years. The age of presenting for treatment has been gradually coming down from an average age of about 40-45 20 years ago, to 30-35 now and we are seeing a rapid increase in people in their 20s presenting themselves for treatment.

“I put that down to the enormous quantity of drugs being available for young people to get involved with.

“The variety of drugs is just in a different league to how it was 20 years ago when we were talking about heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and a bit of ‘acid’. You are now talking about a plethora of drugs constantly changing and being made available in clubs and on the street.

“I expect this trend to continue and I hope that services that have been put in place to reduce the harm of drugs will start to speak up more vocally about drugs like ketamine and legal highs which they, at this moment in time, have been profoundly slow in addressing.

“We have been aware about the damage through ketamine for about five years and yet none of the services in Suffolk that are in place have started to give out warnings of the damage it does to young people’s bladders.

“I think drug use has changed from being a twilight world to being much more common among young people. Twenty years ago drug use was carried out in some secrecy whereas now there is much more openness about the use of drugs. I don’t think it’s very good. It just makes the whole thing more attractive to young people in particular.”

Sharon Jarrett, Suffolk County Council’s head of young people’s health improvement, said: “We’re aware of concerns about substance misuse involving ketamine and other legal highs, which is why we are taking action to treat and support people of all ages.

“It’s essential that we raise awareness of the harm that these substances can cause. We have contacted all schools and the county’s GPs with information and advice about where to come for help. We also run a range of training on drug and alcohol misuse for all health professionals and practitioners who work with young people and adults, including specific sessions on ketamine.

“We are committed to treating everyone who presents with difficulties relating to substance misuse, including ketamine, cannabis and legal highs.”

Arrests of youths and children for drug offences in Suffolk have increased by nearly a third in just four years, according to police figures.

In 2010 there were 569 males and females aged 17 or under detained on suspicion of supplying or possessing drugs.

That number rose to 754 last year – the youngest was aged just 13.

Between 2012 and 2013 alone arrests went up by 17%.

The rise during the past 24 months is reflected, in part, by the increasing number of young drug dealers being sent to the county by organised crime gangs mainly based in London.

These groups have targeted Ipswich in particular, according to senior officers.

Chief Superintendent Jon Brighton, of Suffolk Constabulary, said: “We have seen an increase in younger drug dealers.

“With the operations we have run over the last year we have found younger people from outside of Suffolk being involved in the supply of drugs on the street, primarily in the Ipswich area, but we have seen them in other towns in Suffolk as well.

“We deal with them appropriately and contact the appropriate agencies if they are involved with those children or young people.

“We have got two strategic arms aimed at reducing the supply (of drugs) and reducing the demand.

“We are looking at trying to prevent and disrupt drugs coming in to the county and bring people to justice.

“We are also looking to reduce demand by focussing on users to try to assist them to break the cycle of drug abuse by working with our partner agencies.”

During the mid-to-late 1990s police noticed an increasing trend of dealers travelling to Suffolk from the streets of London.

Throughout the intervening years several operations have been carried out to arrest and deter them from coming to the county.

Many take over properties of drug addicts through either coercion or bribery ause their flats or houses as a base to deal from.

When police do eradicate one set of suppliers, the void is often filled quickly by other gangs and dealers.

shares

1 comment

  • I'm afraid this is thanks to not dealing with the drug problem's surfacing on estates in 80's, properly in the courts and sending too soft messages on the gateway drug cannabis. Along with foreign crime and London based crime gangs moving here as reported in the Star the other week, I'd like to know why our council is not more vocal on this. Not good publicity but our youngsters are more important. I suspect we are not the only town having this problem. What money is going to be put in to drug services, mental health services and into the police to sort this out? What about the derisory sentence of 30 months for the illegals working in houses, for cannabis dealers, two case in as few weeks. This soft messages are not good enough.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Essex Police last year searched the area near Scarfe Way in the investigation into the murder of Nahid Almanea.

The teenager from Colchester, initially arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon in the Salary Brook Trail on Tuesday was charged this evening.

Travellers on St Andrew's long stay car park, Bury St Edmunds.

The group of travellers have been told to leave by St Edmundsbury Borough Council or be taken to High Court.

Abellio Greater Anglia train.

The Greater Anglia services are being replaced by buses.

A large hole has appeared in the ground at the back of Holland and Barrett and Parkyns in Stowmarket.

Mystery surrounds the appearance of a six foot hole behind a shop in Stowmarket.

Sizewell A and B

A study is to be carried out around the Sizewell nuclear power stations site to investigate whether people eating food produced in the area or spending time there are vulnerable to radioactivity.

Thomson Airways' new Boeing 787 Dreamliner touching down at Stansted.

Stansted Airport today marked the arrival of the latest in airline technology with the launch of a new long-haul service from the Essex terminal.

Heavy farme equipment is load on to a low loader during the Suffolk Show clear up at Trinity Park

How do you follow-up the most successful Suffolk Show for years? With an epic Suffolk Show clean-up operation.

East House on George Street in Hadleigh.

A public inquiry is opening today in Hadleigh to decide the future of a popular park.

Police were at the scene

The incident happened just before 5pm near the Railway Bridge and drivers can expect delays in the area.

Police were at the scene

The incidents happened at around 2pm and drivers can expect delays while efforts to clear the oil spill are made.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages