Social cost of drugs in London is £2.5bn

Someone in London dies every 30 hours because of drug misuse,
according to a new report.

The study, from the Greater London Alcohol and Drug Alliance, says
that Londoners are more likely to have used illegal drugs than
people in other parts of the country. It also says there are at
least 70,000 problem drug users in London, costing more than
£2.5bn in economic and social costs.

More than 19,000 people sought treatment for a drug problem in
2001-2. Ninety per cent of these were aged 15 to 44, indicating
that more than one in 200 Londoners in this age group went to a
specialist drug treatment agency during that time.

The report shows that London suffers from gaps in drug treatment
provision. Some areas do not have local in-patient detox facilities
and a number of boroughs do not have GP prescribing.

In addition, despite a National Treatment Agency target for 30 per
cent of GPs to offer primary care to drug misusers, coverage of
this service is patchy – it is unavailable in three boroughs and
limited in others.

The report also finds that workforce planning is a problem in
London with vacancies in a number of drug treatment agencies and
traditional recruitment efforts failing.

The alliance has identified four priority areas, including
developing and implementing a cocaine strategy and identifying ways
to address the housing needs of people with drug and alcohol

It will also work on social exclusion and promote community led
prevention of drug and alcohol problems.

– London: The Highs and the Lows from

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