Friday, November 16 2018
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Understanding why people use heroin

Understanding why people use heroin

Heroin allows people in pain a way to integrate into a community – it doesn’t just provide a temporary escape from an ugly reality, but also a sense of belonging. How much someone uses drugs is often a measure of how much pain they have suffered, how isolated they are. Addiction is a symptom of something very wrong with our society.

London tops ‘cocaine in sewage’ league table

London tops ‘cocaine in sewage’ league table

London has the highest concentration of cocaine in sewage of 50 European cities. Study results show that on average, drug users in London relieved themselves of 737mg of cocaine per 1,000 people during the week in 2014. The amount of cocaine in London's waste water peaks on a Friday and Saturday, but then begins to fall away dramatically on Sunday and into Monday. While London comes top for cocaine flushed down the toilet, Amsterdam's drains contain greater amounts of cannabis.

The yin and yang of cannabis

The yin and yang of cannabis

Complicated and controversial, cannabis is revealed by recent science to have a dual personality, with a dark side and a more positive one. Key to understanding this strange plant are two of the ingredients that make it up, known by their initials as THC and CBD. The THC makes you stoned, but it can also make you anxious. It can also make you feel a bit psychotic, and it will seriously impair your memory. The other side of the yin/yang is CBD, which has almost the opposite effects. CBD calms you down, it has anti-psychotic properties and it also offsets the effects on memory, so that on CBD-containing cannabis you're less likely to forget what's going on.

Peer pressure to take drugs continues in adulthood

Peer pressure to take drugs continues in adulthood

Teens and schoolchildren are taking fewer drugs than ever before, but usage is on the rise amongst 20-somethings. A study by the Government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre found that young people aged 11-15 have turned their back on drink, drugs and smoking. The number of schoolchildren who have tried illegal dugs has almost halved over the past 10 years. Another study carried out by the Crime Survey for England and Wales discovered that cocaine and ecstasy are on the rise among young people aged between 16 and 24. Over the past year, the number of drug users has gone up by 230,000 to 2.7 million.

Peaches Geldof was a heroin addict

Peaches Geldof was a heroin addict

Peaches Geldof died of an overdose of heroin, a coroner has ruled. The 25-year-old journalist had been receiving treatment for heroin addiction for the past two and half years, and had been taking the substitute drug methadone. She relapsed and began taking the class A drug again two months before she died, the inquest heard. The inquest was told that there was codeine, methadone and morphine in Geldof's blood, the latter coming from heroin, and that the levels were within the fatal range.

Khat is now a controlled class C drug in the UK

Khat is now a controlled class C drug in the UK

About 2,560 tonnes of the leafy plant khat are imported to the UK every year. Users chew the bitter leaves of this natural stimulant. It is supposed to make them more alert and raise energy levels, with effects similar to amphetamine but less intense. However khat users may also experience mental health problems, such as euphoria followed by depression, while people who are genetically predisposed are extremely vulnerable to psychosis. Since 24 June 2014 khat is classified as banned class C drug in the UK.

Godfather of ecstasy has died

Godfather of ecstasy has died

Alexander Shulgin, the chemical scientist who reinvented the popular party drug ecstasy, has died at the age of 88 from liver cancer. He earned his nickname, the Godfather of ecstasy, after honing a way to make the drug - and testing it out on himself to check it had worked. MDMA had been previously synthesised and patented in 1912 by the pharmaceutical company Merck, but was never fully explored within humans. Shulgin decided to start human trials - again, starting with himself.

Cannabis on legal sale in Colorado

Cannabis on legal sale in Colorado

Colorado and Washingston states in the United States voted to legalise the use and possession of cannabis in November 2012. On 1 January 2014 Colorado allows stores to sell cannabis, a date dubbed Green Wednesday. Cannabis will be sold like alcohol. Residents will be able to buy up to one ounce, while those from out of the state can purchase up to a quarter of an ounce. Cannabis can only be smoked on private premises, with the permission of the owners.

Afghanistan, the drug addiction capital

Afghanistan, the drug addiction capital

Afghanistan produces 90% of all opiate drugs in the world, but until recently was not a major consumer. Now, out of a population of 35 million, more than a million are addicted to drugs - proportionately the highest figure in the world.

Tom Maynard was high on cocaine and ecstasy when he died

Tom Maynard was high on cocaine and ecstasy when he died

Tom Maynard, the Surrey cricketer, died after being hit by a London Underground train last June. Toxicology tests on his body showed a high level of alcohol plus cocaine and ecstasy. He was approximately three times over the legal blood alcohol level. A hair sample suggested he was a regular user of cocaine in the last three months of his life.

Do anti-drug adverts work?

Do anti-drug adverts work?

An examination of the evidence for the effectiveness of anti-drug messages.

The two sides of drug abuse

The two sides of drug abuse

Photographer Roman Sakovich photographed subjects using make-up in order to explore the outsiders superficial judgement of the same person before and after drug abuse. After which he combined the before and after images into one in order to make the change more visible.