11/01/2022: Fighting the darknet drug dealers who keep coming back

Claire Campbell’s 16-year-old son, Luke, died after taking ecstasy bought by friends on the darknet – a part of the internet that can only be accessed with special software. One of the biggest illegal marketplaces on there, Torrez, went offline last month after two years of selling Class A drugs, counterfeit cash and hacking tools. But one darknet drug dealer has told the BBC that law enforcement face an “impossible task” trying to close down such sites.

Read: BBC

05/01/2022: Pilot scheme bids to scrap criminal sentences for young people caught with cannabis

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is looking to trial the scrapping of criminal sentences for young people caught in possession of cannabis to divert them away from the criminal justice system. The trial is being developed for three out of London’s 32 boroughs and would only apply to young people aged between 18 to 24 caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis.

Read: Children and Young People Now

23/12/2021: A Generational Shift In The Demand For Drugs?

Drugs prevention or demand reduction are typically the most difficult to attain objectives in any drug strategy and many commentators argue that it is not possible for government to control their citizens’ demand for drugs – particularly within a global economy with drugs easily available for purchase in a wide variety of ways. Nonetheless, most governments seem compelled to try and much of the media coverage leading up to the publication of the strategy was about how the government intended to reduce demand for “hard” drugs among middle class users by rescinding passports for those found in possession of Class A substances.

Read: Russell Webster

09/12/2021: County lines: ‘this parent-blaming response does nothing to protect exploited children’

One minute, they’re spinning between the normal routines of family life: work, mealtimes, homework, lifts to clubs and sports events, days out. The next, they’re catching first glimpses of red flags that quickly mushroom – suddenly the parents’ full-time function is finding and questioning strange items, behaviours and actions.

Read: Community Care

09/12/2021: Concern over increase in county lines grooming during pandemic

Almost half of parents and carers say the risk of children being exploited by drug gangs in their local area has increased during the pandemic, according to The Children’s Society. Some 46 per cent of parents, foster parents and legal guardians surveyed by the charity said they think the risk of children being criminally exploited has increased in their locality since March last year when Covid-19 restrictions were first introduced.

Read: Children and Young People Now

06/12/2021: County lines: Government pledges to dismantle 2,000 gangs in drug policy overhaul

The government is pledging to dismantle 2,000 county lines gangs as part of a drugs policy overhaul. The £300m commitment is one proposal in the new 10-year drug strategy for England and Wales. Policing minister Kit Malthouse said the total funding would be £900m over three years, including major investments in treatment.

Read: BBC

06/12/2021: Boris Johnson’s new 10-year drugs plan promises to close down 2,000 ‘county lines’ supplies

As part of a 10-year plan for tackling drugs crime and taking on the “kingpins” behind supplies, the PM is warning criminals they will have “nowhere to hide”. And he is also pledging the largest-ever increase in investment in treatment and recovery for addicts.

Read: Sky

02/12/2021: Crime ‘hotspot’ schools to get county line gang support

The Department for Education has announced that schools in crime “hotspots” across the country at risk of violence and involvement in county lines gangs will be offered targeted support to boost pupils’ attendance and prevent exclusions.

Read: Times Education Supplement

04/11/2021: Overlooked – The Families Of People Who Drink, Use Drugs And Gamble

On Tuesday (2 November 2021) Adfam published new research entitled “Overlooked” about the 5.5 million people who are the families and friends of people who drink, use drugs and gamble, basically about one in ten of us. The research is based on a public survey of 2061 adults undertaken by YouGov. Adfam asks how a problem that affects millions of people, and for so long, remains so hidden. The report also contains recommendations to improve the current situation. Below I share the key findings from the report.

Read: Russell Webster

30/10/2021: Student ‘still feels vulnerable on nights out’ five years after alleged spiking

A former art student who had to use a walking stick and lost the use of her hand for weeks after she believes she was spiked has said she still feels vulnerable going out, five years after the alleged incident. Polly Sutherland, who was studying at Lancaster University, was 19 when her friends noticed she was behaving uncharacteristically during a night out at the university’s student union club, the Sugarhouse, in December 2016.

Read: Guardian

27/10/2021: New Resources: Health And Social Responses To Different Drugs

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction is in the process of publishing a large series of “miniguides” to support practitioners and policymakers in tackling the negative consequences of drug use. The guides are organised in different categories.

Read: Russell Webster

24/09/2021: Freshers Week: Organised criminals targeting universities

New students are being targeted by organised crime gangs who want to provide drugs to parties, a senior police officer has said. This week is freshers week at many universities, with thousands of North East students embracing socialising. With Covid hitting last year’s events, students face an “increased risk” from taking illegal substances, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) said.

Read: BBC

20/08/2021: Increased Focus On Prevention And Early Intervention

In part 2 of her Review of Drugs, Dame Carol Black says we need increased focus on primary prevention and early intervention.

Read: Russell Webster

18/08/2021: Probation’s Work With Drug Users Is “Disappointing”

Probation services are responding poorly to drugs misuse and addiction cases, according to a new report published today jointly by HM Inspectorate of Probation and Care Quality Commission. The report highlights one key fact to demonstrate how the probation’s service work with people who use drugs has deteriorated over the last decade.

Read: Russell Webster

09/08/2021: Longfield to lead independent commission on gangs and criminal exploitation

Former children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield will examine the scale of child criminal exploitation and come up with ways to cut the number of children used by gangs as part of an independent commission due to launch next month.

Read: Children and Young People Now