Addiction in the UK: Rising Drug Use and a New Treatment for Drinkers
Survey finds drug use among Brits on the rise and scientists seek a way to stem problem drinking
Drug Use in the U.K.
The U.S. is not alone in having an escalating drug problem. The Guardian reported this month that 1 in 3 Brits, or 69%, have taken an illegal drug in their lifetime, and 21% still do. The last time the survey was conducted, in 2008, 27 % admitted to trying illegal drugs, and now 31% answered in the affirmative. This shows the proportion of people who have used drugs is rising, and that’s not good. Also, the gender gap has closed in that time—now women are just as likely as men to have taken drugs.
At what age would you suspect British people use drugs the most? You might be surprised to hear that it is 44-year-olds, who account for 44%. Scotland has the highest rate of those who have taken drugs in the British Isles at 35%.
23% of Brits take illegal drugs daily, but 87% of those surveyed don’t think they’re addicted.
And in Britain, most people buy drugs from friends rather than dealers and think that the laws should differentiate between the two when it comes to punishment. The survey also mentioned pot being legalized in the U.S. and asked if British citizens would support this in their country. Just over half said they would.
A Drug to Reduce Excess Drinking
The title of this article in The Telegraph (another British paper) is misleading: “New drug for ‘mild alcoholics’ drinking two glasses of wine a night” because it doesn’t make clear, like it does later in the article, that it’s women drinking two glasses of wine a night who are considered mildly alcoholic. (It also pertains to men who drink three pints of beer a night.)
But beyond that, this is extremely important news. The drug supposedly stops people from having more than one drink and is a boon for drinkers who are dead set against abstinence. According to the article, there are about 750,000 people in the UK who could benefit from it.
The plan has been introduced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NIHCE), with the directive that General Practitioners are to ask people how much they drink (similar to what is recommended for doctors in the U.S.).
Bloomberg says that in three clinical trials, participants cut binge drinking by 66%. “Heavy drinking is Europe’s second-largest risk factor for poor health,” the article says. Unfortunately, there are no plans to sell it in the U.S., although the manufacturer mentioned partnerships, so maybe in the future.
It can’t come too soon. The writer says that it will “save 1,854 lives over five years and prevent 43,074 alcohol-related diseases and injuries over the same period [in Britain].” It’s not the definitive answer, however, as I’m sure many experts will agree.