The number of young people in treatment for drug abuse in England has decreased for the ninth consecutive year, despite an increase in the percentage admitting to using drugs.
There were 15,583 under 18 years of pharmacological treatment in the year up to March 31, 2018, a 5% decrease from the previous year, according to data from Public Health England. However, there is evidence that drug use among young people is growing.
Ian Hamilton, a drug addict and mental health researcher at the University of York, said the decline in treatment numbers was a concern. "This decline of young people in therapy does not make sense." Class of young people Drug use rises from 6.8% in 2007 to 8.4% in 2018 and the 2016 school survey shows that 10% of schoolchildren had used drugs in 2014 but increased to 15% in 2016. Even school exclusions for drugs and alcohol use increased by 95% from 2010.
"My concern is that drug treatment cuts impact young people, and if they are excluded from school, are they finding their peer support in gangs and exploited through county governors?"
As in previous years, cannabis was the substance that caused the reference to services for most of the young people concerned, with the drug mentioned for 88% of the patients. Alcohol has been mentioned for less than half.
Ecstasy has proven to be a growing problem, with the number of people having started treatment for drug problems by 16% compared to the previous year, and almost twice as many as four years ago. In total, ecstasy was cited as a primary or secondary drug of abuse in 14% of cases.
Schools were the most common way to treat drug addiction, accounting for about a third of referral cases, compared to about a quarter in 2012-13. The judicial system for young people was the second most common way of referring, equal to about one in five, down from 39% in 2010-11.
A spokesperson for Addaction, a charitable organization dealing with mental health problems, drugs and alcohol, agreed that there was less money in the system than before. But he also said that drug services must adapt to better meet the needs of young people. "Part of this is investing in things like online processing and modeling a new generation of services that meet young people where they are – and obviously in many cases online".
Public health England has defended its record, while accepting that the improper use of drugs and alcohol remained a problem. Rosanna O & # 39; Connor, director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, said: "Although fewer than 18 years require treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, it remains a significant problem for many young people, and the latest data show a relative increase in the number of young people in need of treatment due to the use of crack.
"About 80% of young people leaving the services did so in a planned manner, requiring no more specialized treatment interventions, which suggests that the services of substance abuse in England are responding well to the needs of young people asking for Help ".