The Telegraph has an interview with Professor John Henry in the light of the publication of the Statistics on Drug Misuse report:
Drug dealers are targeting schools and a ‘worrying number’ of youngsters are trying cocaine, an expert warned yesterday.
As a result, the country is heading for a health care disaster, Prof John Henry, the UK’s leading expert on illicit drug use, told The Daily Telegraph. He predicted a dramatic rise in heart attacks, strokes and neurological problems among young people. He spoke as a new report said that almost one in five secondary school pupils in England, some as young as 11, took illegal drugs last year.
Here’s what the survey tells us about cocaine and young people.
Pupils aged 11 to 15:
- 90% of 11 to 15 year olds had heard of cocaine, heroin and cannabis. Among those aged 11, 86% had heard of cocaine.
- 18% of 15 year olds have ever been offered cocaine and ecstasy.
- 18% believe it would be easy to access cocaine or crack.
- 4% thought it was OK to try cocaine.
- The numbers taking cocaine or crack have gone down from last year (2.4% down from 2.9%).
- Amongst young adults – 16 to 24 year olds – cocaine use has remained stable since 2000.
- Cocaine is the second commonly used illegal drug with 5.9% of young adults reporting to have used it in the year prior to interview. Higher numbers of those over 20 years old (7.6%) say they have used cocaine than those between 16 and 19 (3.9%).
- 22.3% of young people who use cocaine powder reported using the drug at least once a month. This group has been rising – from 1.9% of the overall population of young people in 200o to 3% in 2005/6.
- Young men (7.6%) are more likely to take cocaine than young women (4.3%).
- Those who had (0r are) excluded or truant from school are more likely to have taken cocaine (c11% vs c4%).
- There were 231 young people (under 18) who were receiving treatment for cocaine use in 2004/05.
To add to this context the Information Centre’s report says “2.4% of adults reporting having used cocaine (either cocaine powder or crack cocaine) in the year prior to interview.”
The Telegraph don’t provide us with the evidence to support Professor Henry’s claim that schools are being targeted. However, it’s a reminder that schools need to have robust drug policies in place and to develop relationships with their local police using the ACPO guidance, Joining Forces, as a basis for that partnership.
That guidance has this to say about gathering and sharing intelligence about drug dealing in and around schools:
In the National Intelligence Model, intelligence-gathering is a separate and equally important policing activity alongside prevention and enforcement. A school community is a community like any other and it is, on occasions, quite proper to gather intelligence within it, provided this is done with the support and co-operation of the school. An intelligence-led approach includes the sharing of information between schools and police and will enable communities to be safer places to live, work and learn.
From time to time schools may request information from the police about local drug issues. In addition, it may be appropriate, as part of the National Intelligence Model tasking process, proactively to share information about emerging threats and local drug problems with schools.
They also point out that, “Matters relating to intelligence gathering or intelligence sharing should be addressed to the headteacher or deputy headteacher, or college principal, and copied to a governor with responsibility for drug issues.”
Filed under: cocaine, drug dealing, police