Social workers face new challenges from increase in cocaine users

An increase in crack and cocaine use among Glasgow’s drug
addicts will require new approaches from social care staff,
according to a report from the Joint Addiction Partnership,
writes Joanna Pearl

The Partnership’s first report showed a worrying rise in
cocaine use. The amount of cocaine-using clients assessed by the
Drugs Crisis Centre – a walk-in 24-hour assessment service –
rose from 1.6% in 2002/3 to 30% the following year. There was an
annual increase of 10% in the number of drug users being supported
by the social work service in 2003/4, it found.

David Liddell, Director of the Scottish Drugs Forum said:
“People who use crack and cocaine as their primary drug are a
different group from users of opiates, such as heroin. Front-end
services will need to change to meet their needs. Across Europe,
where crack has taken over, we’ve seen increasing violence in
services and to staff.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Council sounded a cautious note:
“Crack cocaine use in Glasgow is a new phenomenon. This
increase may be a blip or may continue over the next twenty years.
We will monitor the patterns of use.”

Scottish Drugs Forum praised Glasgow’s Joint Addiction
Partnership for its integration of health and social services,
partnership working, and initiatives to improve community-based
options for substance users.


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