20/06/2022: County lines: Inside the complex battle against drug gangs exploiting children
Police waging the relentless battle against dangerous crime gangs often arrest children for drug dealing. The BBC has been given rare access to a new team of prosecutors who have to decide whether these young suspects are criminals or victims. The choices they face are often complex and controversial.
09/06/2022: Smoking age of sale should keep rising forever
The age at which people can buy tobacco and cigarettes in England should be raised year by year so that eventually no-one can buy them, a review says. The call has been made in an independent report by ex-charity boss Javed Khan asked for by ministers. Under the plan the age of sale would rise from 18 by one year every year so the children of today will never be allowed to buy tobacco.
20/05/2022: County lines: how can teachers help?
The government has pledged to tackle the problem of county lines drug gangs, but targeting existing gangs won’t be enough, experts warn. Instead, we need early intervention, and teachers have a crucial role to play, finds Kate Parker
03/03/2022: Zero-tolerance drug policies stop UK students seeking help, report says
Zero-tolerance drug policies at universities can do more harm than good and discourage troubled students from seeking help, a report by a UK thinktank has concluded. The report from the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) highlights surveys that suggest just three in 10 students would be confident to disclose information regarding their drug use, or abuse, to their institution without fear of punishment.
04/02/2022: Young People In Drug & Alcohol Treatment 2022
Last week (27 January 2022) the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities published its annual statistics on young people’s substance misuse treatment for the financial year 2020/21. As in all areas of life, the impact of the pandemic was clear. In particular, school closures and reduced face-to-face contact across all children and young people’s services meant there were fewer opportunities for young people to be referred to substance misuse services.
Read: Russell Webster
20/01/2022: UK pupils taught about alcohol with ‘misleading’ industry-funded resources
Schools are using “misleading and biased” information materials funded by the alcohol industry to educate pupils as young as nine about drinking, according to a study. Teachers in thousands of UK schools employ lesson plans, factsheets and films produced by bodies with close ties to the drinks trade even though they “portray alcohol as a normal consumer product to impressionable young minds”, the researchers found.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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