Poly-drug use on increase in UK according to recent Drugscope survey

Just read this in the news today:

DrugScope’s annual Street Drug Trends Survey finds that drug users are taking a wider variety of substances together or separately.

Here is an extract from findings of survey:

Downward trend in the quality of illegal drugs on the UK’s street drug market could be driving changes in patterns of drug use, with users increasingly interchanging or combining a range of low quality drugs, according to DrugScope’s 2009 Street Drug Trends Survey.

The survey compiles and analyses feedback from 70 drug services, police forces, drug action teams and service user groups in 20 towns and cities across the UK. It illuminates patterns in the use and supply of substances to give a snapshot view of current UK street drug trends [1]. The survey also compiles the national average prices of different drugs on the UK street drug market [2].

This year’s findings show a fall in the reported quality of illegal drugs available in most areas over the last year. Seventeen out of twenty areas reported a drop in the quality of powder and crack cocaine, echoing a growing body of evidence showing declining cocaine purities [3]. In one area, police reported seizing cocaine powder with purity levels as low as 2%. Twelve out of the twenty areas reported a decline in heroin quality, while the majority of areas also highlighted a fall in the MDMA content in ecstasy pills and a continuation of the long-term trend in poor quality amphetamine.

The fall in quality has also occurred in the illicit market in prescription tranquillisers, notably diazepam. While authentic 10mg pills diverted into the black market were being sold in most areas for £1, fake, low quality, versions reported to be from labs in China and South East Asia were available for half the price in some areas.

The survey found that the drop in the quality of drugs could be accelerating a longer term trend towards poly drug use – taking a variety of different substances in combination or at different times – as users look to ‘top up’ on low quality drugs or experiment with alternatives. In turn, some survey respondents suggested that the shift towards people using a more varied menu of drugs means users are less concerned about the quality of each individual substance.

Click here to find out more at Drugscope