Drugs in London

Jeremy: Oh relax. "Oh I'm Mark, I'm in the eighties, I'm dying of heroin in a puddle in the corner in an advert." Drugs are fine, Mark, everyone agrees now. Drugs are what happen to people and that's fine, so shut up. 
- Peep Show

Given how much the "drugs" issue has exercised some BC readers on threads like these, we thought you might be interested in this little bit of context, courtesy of the Economist (client).

The article challenges a few of the prejudices so-far expressed by BCers and points out that London is the most sober part of the country:

Surveys by the National Health Service show that Londoners aged between 11 and 15 are less likely to smoke than are youngsters in every other English region. They drink alcohol much more rarely and are no more likely to take illicit drugs. Another large-scale survey for the DfES rolls drink and drug use among young people into a single measure. Again, London stands out for its sobriety...

[One] explanation is that the capital contains a lot of immigrants from places where youthful drinking and smoking are rare—particularly the Indian subcontinent.... London’s odd social make-up may help to explain the pattern. In addition to an immigrant-heavy working class, the capital has a lot of affluent professionals, who may be unusually keen to steer their children away from mind-altering chemicals...

There is a more startling possibility: London represents the future. Alex Stevens, a criminologist at the University of Kent, points out that the capital generally leads drug trends. Heroin emerged in London and a few other large cities in the 1980s, then spread. So did cocaine... Having declined in London and risen everywhere else, the drug is now as popular in the far north of England as it is in the capital.

Britons have been hooked on drink and drugs for so long that it is hard to imagine them dropping the habit. But if the country were to become less intoxicated, the earliest signs of change would probably appear in the city.

76 comments:

Jim Jepps said...

Can young people afford to get drunk in London?

Thom said...

One key problem is this artificial difference created between illegal and legal drugs. Many assume that if you're an illegal drug user you had a bad childhood or currently some personal issues. Yet the person down the pub enjoying a drink is just relaxing and enjoying themselves. I admit that's a vague comparison and depends on level of use and more, however, personally I am sick and tired of being treated as criminal because I prefer cannabis use to alcohol.

To be frank I can't really stand alcohol and hardly touch it but I tolerate each person is different and has their own way of unwinding or simply enjoying themselves. When I see a lot of my friends (in their 20s) I'm pretty horrified and disgusting by the levels of drink they consume - and that's just before they're heading out for a night!! I can't understand the joy of being so out of control and am embarrassed, more so humiliated if I was them, the following day but for many they don't see it this way whatsoever, they continue to do it every Friday/Saturday night if not more. That's what happens when we focus on chastising illegal drugs so much; it separates the legal drugs and causes the assumption that if they're legal, they can't be much harm. It's the price you pay for false education and, effectively, brainwashing with fear over fact.

In terms of anti-social behaviour being the key result of illegal drugs, I'd rephrase that more to 'drug dealing'. Drugs are not illegal, it is us as people who are controlled in that it is a crime to produce crack or cannabis, or to possess etc.

With the market created by the demand is it really a surprise that many who find it hard to get a decent paying job, or are just lazy, turn to drug dealing? Particularly with the level of competition and expenses of living in London it seems worth the risk for many - particularly with the laws not really punishing for a lot of drug crime, more so being an inconvenience.

It's time to grow up, educate people and take some responsibility for ourselves than letting the state decide what we can and can't do with our own bodies.

barryls said...

You need booze up north. It's cold.

Anonymous said...

interesting - but how many londoners educated here then leave to go to universities and colleges all aroung the uk and how many students arrive - and what is the proportion from overseas?

Ha, if it's so cold 'up north' why do people go out with less clothes on to go drinking?

Anonymous said...

Because they're not soft. I'm not being funny, but spend some time in the real areas of the UK, and you won't find people getting excited about delis or calling a 0.3 mile walk from the station a long way.

Anonymous said...

To the above anon.....are you spokesman for the rest of the UK?

If you want a thriving night life would you space all restaurants, pubs, bars 0.3m apart up a back street? No. You group them together, same as anywhere else. Are you also saying that other parts of the UK only want cheap cafes, supermarkets and pound stores? I suspect they would be a bit taken aback by that.

DJ said...

Don't talk to me about sophistication - I've been to Leeds!

Anonymous said...

"...real areas of the UK"!!! Hahahaha - what a twat....

Brockley Nick said...

@DJ - LOL.

terrencetrentderby said...

thom you sound like a barrel of laughs

Anonymous said...

^^^ Now that's irony!^^^

Tim said...

Terrence, you sound unconstructive. I would like to be insulting but fear that Nick would delete such comments. Thom comes up with a well thought out, considered, comment and all you can say is that?

Anonymous said...

where do the youngsters in Brockley go out - lewisham,New X, croydon, central london, beckenham, bromley, blackheath? Def not in the local area

Anonymous said...

Context my ass....

Fewer London children smoke than those outside, no sheet Sherlock.

If people read the figures in another thread relating to the 1960's they'd have an understanding as to why.

Anonymous said...

Eh? Why - because they're all on drugs?

Party on said...

Hmmmn another slightly dodgy statistic about drug use. It's not the illegal ones that teenagers are taking it's the legal ones. I went to a house party that was full of teenagers (long story), and the whole place was full of methadrone, benzofury and roflcoptr, and every single person seemed to be on something. It's cheap, easy to get and legal, well some are now illegal, but there's 1000's of legal highs on the market now, all pretty similar to what ever gets banned. Also in my experience a lot of Muslims don't drink but smoke weed instead.

These things are cyclical anyway. All it takes is a new drug to sweep the country as it does every decade or so, like ecstasy, or even new supplies like cheaper coke and everyone's smashed to the eyeballs again.

Anonymous said...

Mephadrone was an excellent drug. Daily Mail panic got that 'BANNED!' now too. As it was ordered online and legal, it was always honest fare.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Broca sell an organic variety?

Some dick said...

If only somebody would do a joke about drugs being organic or free range or honest fare or something because nobody has ever done that before and it would be hilarious!!!! LOL!!!!

The Equalizer said...

And the first angry mung comment award goes to Some dick.

Go and cross the road without looking.

Anonymous said...

"The Equaliser"!! Hahaha! I bet you live with your mum.

Mrs Equalizer said...

To be fair dear that is at least the 8th 'organic drugs' comment in 2 days. At least make an effort.

The Equalizer said...

It's spelt Equalizer anon 16:52.

"Hahaha!"

Anonymous said...

Ooo a mum joke, that makes you about as cool as Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Party on...which is reason why the least Lewisham needs is another raft of legal drugs.

Brocklites, for legalising of drugs, opposed to rehab centres to deal with the consequences.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry for misspelling your oh-so-scary fictional vigilante name. Please don't shoot me with your pretend gun.

pip said...

"Because they're not soft. I'm not being funny, but spend some time in the real areas of the UK, and you won't find people getting excited about delis or calling a 0.3 mile walk from the station a long way."

I'm a Northerner, and I barely know anyone (in the north) who wouldn't get in their car to travel 0.3 miles. I bet the average Londoner walks further than the average town dweller.

Anonymous said...

Don't northerners live in a shoebox on a motorway?

Expat Northerner said...

Shoebox that's luxury. Hole in t'ground more like

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of hidden drug misuse out there.

Prescription anti-depressants, sedatives and pain killers are regularly doled out to large numbers of people. Addling their brains.

All perfectly legal, of course.

Some of the drug regimes people are on are quite frightening and are of dubious benefit.

Something to look forward to in later life?

Anonymous said...

^^^
So it seems bizarre to legalise more drugs which are known to cause anti social behaviour and whose supply or dosage won't be monitored.

Anonymous said...

once again, people get mugged by people who are stealing to soend hundreads of pounds to buy drugs. A heroin addict is likley to have a snooze after injecting, its the withdrawal that motivates them to crime. IF you want to maintain the link between drugs, violence and drug use keep it legal.

In the same way, giving out clean needles for free doesn't encorage use its simply a pragmatic choice to reduce the damage drugs do. An addict with HIV effects everyone evenm if you don't inject.

Drugs are bad in themselves but no need to add a layer of criminality over the top. Spend the hundreads of millions on education, regulation and treatment.

Anonymous said...

"IF you want to maintain the link between drugs, violence and drug use keep it ILEGAL." rather

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 13.32
If they were legal the supply and dosage could be monitored - it's not currently.

Anonymous said...

We will also lose the western aspect from Coulgate St, it's nice to see the sun going down rather than behind a monolithic building.

Anonymous said...

Tobacco is legal, what law is there to stop someone smoking 100 a day?

So legalising drugs will stipulate how much drugs someone can take each day? I'd like to see how that's going to be enforced.

Anonymous said...

It's called a 'prescription'. Ask your doctor.

Anonymous said...

So legalised recreational drugs won't be for sale but on prescription?

Ooh they've been there before, which led to a number of doctors being struck off due to over prescribing.

Anonymous said...

Yep, struck off. It's regulated, do you see?

Thomas said...

@Anon 1806 - Why not protect us from ourselves even more by government cameras in every room in our homes in case we're doing anything borderline dangerous?

Us humans are such dangerous beings, the responsible government should ideally keep us individually in padded cells with a small door to feed us through. Nothing could go wrong then and we'll also maximise our productivity by reducing our freedom so we'll all be happy!

Anonymous said...

Sounds uncomfortably like a disfunctional relationship.

Anonymous said...

@Thomas

The residents of Upper Brockley Road are seeking protection not from themselves but from the actions of others who don't give a monkeys because they are either drunk or zapped out of their brains.

Legalising drugs will not reduce anti-social behaviour, health issues and crime.

The numbers able to over induldge would increase and those not happy with what's on offer will continue to seek their pleasure illegally.

It's very easy to understand.

Anonymous said...

The residents of upper Brockley Road would be spared the ant-social behaviour and crime because the street dealers who attract the trouble wouldn't be there if the drugs were legal - they'd be out of a job.

It's very easy to understand.

Anonymous said...

AntI-social behaviour, obviously. Although those insects can get pretty rowdy...

Thomas said...

@Anon 27 April 2012 02:02 - You're just using absurd examples. Why should the majority always have to suffer because of a problematic minority?

"from the actions of others who don't give a monkeys because they are either drunk"

By your logic you should be campaigning for the prohibition of alcohol then - but we all know what a huge criminal enterprise that would create. If we aren't wasting our time fighting a long lost battle then we could also look at the bigger picture like why these people still choose to try make their lifestyle through this than other career options.

The residents of UBR would be able to have more police patrols to look out for anyone still dealing because they wouldn't be wasting their time on harmless users to get some easy stats. Why do you think when the police stand at stations with sniffer dogs there's so many officers? It's easier to deal with than drunk people; stoners are easy to catch, the majority won't run away, they don't want to cause a scene - they just want to be left alone.

"Legalising drugs will not reduce anti-social behaviour, health issues and crime."

You make it sound like people take drugs (caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, heroin...) just to go cause trouble. That's the most pathetic and insulting argument you could offer.

"It's very easy to understand."
i.e. I'm going to bury my head in the sand and ignore the bigger picture.

HeckMcBuff said...

... The kids are alright.

Lou Baker said...

@thomas

Your argument that drugs aren't harmful is flawed.

If you take cocaine - then a couple of dozen Mexicans have probably been shot in the head. Just to service your habit.

If you take heroin - a couple of dozen young Afghan girls may have been gang raped.

The people that supply your 'harmless' cannabis are the exact same ones who inflict misery on millions.

Now, there is a strong argument that drugs should be legal - to take crime out of the supply chain. I have sympathy with that argument. But whilst they are illegal you are basically bank-rolling the scum of society. Perhaps you can have that on your conscience - I know I couldn't.

Finally if drugs are ever legalised - and as I say
I have some sympathy with that argument - then it must be on a rights AND responsibility basis. That means if you use drugs irresponsibly you lose the right to use then. There should also be a complete blanket ban on the NHS paying to treat any illness or condition which arises through drug use. Such a ban should be extended to smokers, drinkers and fatties too.

Anonymous said...

"drinkers" anyone who drinks? Or an arbitary point that you consider too much? As usual you are looking for nice neat good and bad guys. Many if not most people occupy the range in between. Life is difficult when you have to make adult decisions.

Thomas said...

@Lou - Again completely skipping the point and offering the most extreme examples, you're referring to the production, which with the way everything is has to be controlled by gangsters.

"The people that supply your 'harmless' cannabis are the exact same ones who inflict misery on millions. "

Millions?! We don't live in Mexico. And if we didn't have such silly laws I could happily grow some in my own property or outside but I fear the repercussions. It would be great if I could get it like I get my tomatoes at the end of the summer, from myself; I already would grow it if there weren't dangerous consequences, like ruining my career prospects, in turn ruining my life so the govt can happily class me as the 'scum of society', as you like to call it, and keep everyone divided into their classes so people like you can look down your nose at and feel great about yourself.

Your arguments are pointless because you're confirming what I'm on about, you're just arguing for the sake of having your piece. If we're not going to regulate hard drugs then what do you expect in poorer communities and countries? Of course huge criminal enterprises are going to eventually rise - Mexico is the perfect example and unfortunately because of USA's stubborness and adopting similar skepticism to yours, it is getting torn apart and too many families lives are destroyed.

And for one, I don't give people I don't like or consider trouble any business. I don't understand how people can defend the current state of things because it seems to be the root of so many problems but we blindly accept there's no alternative without any real trial or real discussion. There is clearly some major corruption involved in government towards this major issue.

Thomas said...

Addon to the last post:

"There should also be a complete blanket ban on the NHS paying to treat any illness or condition which arises through drug use. Such a ban should be extended to smokers, drinkers and fatties too."

These are the people classed as the real problem users who we need to take care of and watch as they don't seem to have much self-restraint. We may as well just continue things the way they are to ensure no one becomes fat or alcoholic - oh wait.

I do accept it is one major problem with the NHS's funding, why should healthy folk have to pay more for the problematic section? This is already a problem anyway but perhaps if we didn't waste millions or billions on fighting a lost battle then there'd be a lot more money, plus if you took the tax of the sale of items like cannabis. Then we could educate better and finance the whole system much more efficiently.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:06

Evidence for legally available alcohol is contary to your belief.

In a meeting with street drinkers and drug users they were asked why they go to their abodes. There response was they like to network with others.

So drugs users on the cusp or addicted will continue to congregate and will increase in numbers if drugs are legalised.

To say otherwise is like being King Canute with his head in the sand.

Anonymous said...

TAKE TWO...

@Anon 9:06

Evidence for legally available alcohol is contary to your belief.

In a meeting with street drinkers and drug users they were asked why they don't go to their abodes. There response was they like to network with others.

So drugs users on the cusp or addicted will continue to congregate and will increase in numbers if drugs are legalised.

To say otherwise is like being King Canute with his head in the sand.

Anonymous said...

This is barmy.

Lou's points are very badly researched, tabloid fodder.

It's like he's getting his opinions

from The Sun.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 14.30.
Yes, of course there will always be people congregating on the street. People are still allowed freedom of movement or would you like that outlawed too?
They can be, and are, moved on if they cause trouble. We have laws for that and they should be adhered to.

None of that has anything to do with de-criminalisation of drugs and my point about UBR still stands - if the dealers aren't there then the reason for the addicts to congregate there is removed.

Mb said...

Right, I'm going to see my dealer and get bombed on this legal high. Ciao kids.

BAC (g/L) BAC
(% v/v) Symptoms[79]
0.5 0.05% Euphoria, talkativeness, relaxation
1 0.1 % Central nervous system depression, nausea, possible vomiting, impaired motor and sensory function, impaired cognition
>1.4 >0.14% Decreased blood flow to brain
3 0.3% Stupefaction, possible unconsciousness
4 0.4% Possible death
>5.5 >0.55% Death

Lou Baker said...

@thomas

I understand you are trying to justify your habit - filthy as it is.

It makes it easier for you to smoke your spliff if you can detatch your actions from the global consequences of drugs.

You just see a little local dealer - who seems decent enough. It's only dope right? Except that dealer also has other substances - and they get it from someone higher up the food chain who uses violence.

And the one up from that works with drugs mules - and they import some of their gear from Latin America, where there are turf wars - and thousands are dying .

I understand why you don't want to think your habit is part of this problem. But when you add in all the other morally bankrupt people around the world - well, this is why there is a problem.

I am sure you wouldn't take drugs if you had to put a bullet in a Mexican's head yourself. The fact that someone else pulls the trigger - that makes it easier, right? It's the same with meat. I don't eat meat or fish because I don't want animals to die for me. I couldn't kill one myself - I suspect most of us couldn't - and I don't see the difference between doing it myself and having someone else do it for me. People are killed because of drugs. And people who take drugs perpetuate the problem.

I live my life to the highest ethical code. I am always disturbed when selfishness causes others to fall so woefully short.

Anonymous said...

Well if ever there was a compelling argument for the notion that vegetarians can't think straight, I think we've found it.

DJ said...

@Lou. I grow my own weed. That dead Mexican in the boot of my car was just a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Drug users have to joke about mass murder connected with their habit to ignore the reality of their selfish actions.

It's called being in denial.

No doubt if the drugs traded was operated by a large corporation there will be no objection if like the fashion industry young children working in sweat shops to package the goods.

Pol Pot said...

The best thing about doing drugs is the mass murder jokes! Spoilsport.

Brockley Nick said...

It's certainly true that horrific things are done due to the drugs trade and that without demand from customers, the trade would dry out.

But I don't really buy the argument that drug users have blood on their hands, any more than the people who vote for governments who perpetuate the problem by continuing the "war on drugs" have blood on their hands.

The root cause of the problems is prohibition. If alcohol was banned and I still wanted to have a beer now and again, would I suddenly be the bad guy because my habit now cost lives? No, it would be the idiot regulator who was to blame.

By the way, I don't do illegal drugs, so this is not me assuaging my own guilt. It's just a flawed argument.

Thomas said...

@ Lou baker - I'm not even going to waste my time replying to your drivel as you're not here to debate, you're here to tell others what to do and how to live.

Anonymous said...

@Lou, are you a vegetarian or a vegan? The thing is, if you're just a vegetarian, surely you are still relying on and supporting egg and dairy production. And do you honestly, truly, only eat vegetarian cheese? And wear faux-leather shoes? Chickens and cows are going to be killed at the end of their productive life. I'd rather they weren't wasted, personally.

Anonymous said...

I hope he grows and harvests all his own fare too. After all, if you're not prepared to do it yourself...

Lou Baker said...

@ nick

I agree prohibition is the problem - and I agree there is a strong argument for legalising drugs.

But I think the way to deal with it is to get the law changed - not to break the law.

Even if you just do a bit of dope you are supporting an industry which has some vile consequence - both here and, particularly, abroad.

Drug users seem disturbed by my point. And so they should be.

Anonymous said...

Of you buy an iPad or a shirt from tesco for £3 you may well be supporting child exploitation. It's not a facetious comparison. Also Lou, you manage to propose something that is worse than we have now. Legalisation and no treatment. Fantastic.

Anonymous said...

"I live my life to the highest ethical code. I am always disturbed when selfishness causes others to fall so woefully short."

Jesus, the pomposity and selfrighteousness is magnificent. If and when your kids smoke a splif I hope you remember this. You'll probably never no if they do.

Danja said...

I live my life to the highest ethical code. I am always disturbed

Maybe there is a connection?

Danja said...

If you can't kill something to eat it, I agree that you shouldn't eat it. Being unable to kill a farm animal is understandable (but I could do it). Being unable to kill a fish is a bit pathetic - have you ever tried? If not, how is it an ethical stance of any kind? Could you tear a mussel from a rock from a rock and cook it?

Do you cover your mouth with a veil like some Buddhists so as to avoid ever swallowing a living being?

Lou Baker said...

Why would I want to kill a fish?

What has the fish ever done to me? Who am I to exert the power of god over it?

I live my life by a few simple philosophies. Do no harm to others. Respect life - all of it. Show compassion. Respect the environment. Tread lightly. Work hard. Give everyone a second chance. Put children first. Never walk by on the other side. Pay your taxes - all of them. Think carefully about the consequences of your actions. Do not make unreasonable demands of others. Be firm, but fair. Be happy.

All things that make me the vile Nazi scumbag I'm often portrayed as on here.

Vote Lou.

Anonymous said...

"be happy" when was that then?

NAT said...

Lou, you must understand, all this Francis of Assisi stuff is a little new.

Give us time to adjust.

Moi said...

Come on Lou, is this a wind-up?! I actually quite like some of your posts, but I wouldn't ever have surmised from them that you respect all life or show compassion. You're always banging on about work-shy scumbags, selfish fools who take drugs etc etc. That's not showing them respect. Whether they deserve your respect is another matter, but don't claim that you respect all life. I also think you make unreasonable demands of lots of people - you expect them to fit into your very specific view of life and if they don't, you dismiss them.

Moi said...

And as a previous anon said, if you eat non-veggie cheese you are eating some dead animal; then there's the fact that if you eat dairy you are ultimately supporting the meat trade anyway. So indirectly you are still killing animals. And you're always on about sandal-wearing lefties - now it emerges that you must also wear organic sandals made from woven yoghurt as with your strict moral code you can't possibly be wearing leather shoes. This is a different image that you are projecting all of a sudden.

Moi said...

Sorry, not woven yoghurt - yoghurt has live cultures in it. Woven lentils perhaps. Hemp sandals? Or are we back in the realm of drugs?

Anonymous said...

Moi, you've made the "emperors new clothes" leap and realised that Lou cast iron belief in his own opinion does not mean that his views are consitent, sensible, well argued or anything other than the views of a pub bore. He's self absorbed and has no time for anyone else. He lives life as if it's a seris of decisions based on absolute values (his) with no room for nuance. Life is a strange and terifying place for people like him.

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