Suffolk: Fewer young people are becoming addicted to heroin and crack cocaine, expert says
- Credit: Archant
THE number of young people in the county addicted to hard drugs like heroin and crack cocaine has fallen over three years.
New figures published by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) show since 2008/09 the number of heroin and crack users in Suffolk has decreased from 2,411 to 2,275 in 2010/11. A breakdown of users by age has shown in the same period those users aged 15 to 24 fell from 415 to 385.
Simon Aalders, co-ordinator of Suffolk’s Drug and Alcohol Team, said they are seeing more people in their mid-30s requiring treatment, a contrast to a decade ago when most addicts were in their early 20s.
The NTA figures show for the age group 25 to 34 the number of heroin and crack users has risen from 695 in 2008/09 to 722 in 2010/11.
For the 36 to 64-year-old group – the highest number of users – there has been a slight fall from 1,301 to 1,168 users in the last four years.
Mr Aalders said treatment agencies often focus on heroin and crack users because they are the group of drug users facing the greatest social problems and most likely to be involved in criminal activity.
Despite the fall, Mr Aalders said across the board, there has been an increase in people seeking treatment for all drug use.
- 1 Snow possible overnight as 50mph gusts set to arrive in Suffolk
- 2 Man caught massaging woman's leg by husband viewing home CCTV
- 3 Evicted Suffolk family of dying child given early Christmas presents
- 4 Suffolk beauty spots ranked among best in UK
- 5 Is this the cheapest house for sale in Suffolk?
- 6 Automatics out-of-reach and making the play-offs a real battle? The size of the task now facing Ipswich
- 7 'You can't kid supporters... we have to give them a lift' - Cook previews Crewe clash
- 8 Willow Tree Farm Shop & Cafe: 'A lovely blend of upmarket and informal'
- 9 No timescale for when Suffolk road closed due to flooding can reopen
- 10 Action taken to target second home owners exploiting tax loophole
He said the rise is positive, reflecting the fact services designed to help drug users, are easier to access and more effective.
“We have noticed the average age of drug users has changed. What that says is that fewer young people are turning to drug use. It means our messages are making an impact.
“We are not saying there is no drug use among young people but rather there is a smaller proportion than in previous years.
“One of the things we have noticed in Suffolk is that we are seeing more people, using all types of drugs, than ever before. But that suggests that services are very accessible, that people know about the service and understand substance misuse.”
Mr Aalders added: “It also suggests the stigma around the issue is not as great as it once was because people clearly feel able to come to the service for help. And hopefully it suggests when someone goes to the service, treatment is effective which in turn will encourage people to seek help.”