Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Youth courts appeal for cannabis rethink – Telegraph

The Telegraph:

Fifty out of the 51 youth courts in England and Wales have written to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, asking her to tighten the laws regarding the drug.

Cannabis had been downgraded to a class C drug in 2004 by the then home secretary, David Blunkett, meaning dealing the drug or possessing it carried less severe penalties.

However, since then youth offending teams (YOTs) claim they have seen cannabis use soar among young offenders.

We’ve been following this call from the Magistrate’s Association since they started making it back in August 2006.

Meanwhile in The Independent on Sunday:

Cannabis use among Britain’s young offenders is “out of control”, up by 75 per cent in some areas and fuelling a crime epidemic, with youngsters stealing to fund their addictions, according to two studies.

A national survey of Youth Offending Teams indicates that two-thirds of them have seen an increase in cannabis use of between 25 per cent and 75 per cent since David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary, downgraded the drug to class C in 2004. Some 90 per cent of all young offenders are using cannabis in some areas, a far greater proportion than the general youth population.

Research carried out by King’s College London has indicated that 25 per cent of young offenders in Sheffield have turned to crime to fund their habit. This contrasts with previous government research which said that “cannabis use was unlikely to motivate crime”.

The same story is also in The Daily Mail.

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Filed under: cannabis, magistrates

JP’s Cannabis Fears

The Daily Telegraph has picked up on the debate that Magistrates are going to have on cannabis. (this is something we saw in Young People Now in August). Anyway here’s the Telegraph:

Magistrates in youth courts, who are concerned that young people are increasingly hooked on cannabis and turning to crime to fund their habits, are trying to pressure the Government to re-instate it as a Class B drug for juveniles. [more]

There isn’t any research I’ve seen on the numbers of young people with a dependence on cannabis – if you’ve seen any please let me know – but the numbers taking the drug haven’t changed all that much since the change in classification. Indeed if they have changed it seems to be in slight downwards pattern.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a small number of young people who end up in front of magistrates in the circumstances they describe. The question is whether a change in classification is the right approach to dealing with the problems those young people cause. What are your views?

Filed under: cannabis, magistrates

About this blog

This blog tries to pick up relevant media and research stories about drug education. It mainly focuses on information in England as this is the geographical remit for the Drug Education Forum. We welcome comments that are on topic.

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