Drug figures shock county
MORE than 1,200 addicts were treated for Class A drug addiction in Suffolk last year.The alarming scale of today's crack cocaine, heroin and cocaine culture was revealed by the head of the county's drug and alcohol action team.
MORE than 1,200 addicts were treated for Class A drug addiction in Suffolk last year.
The alarming scale of today's crack cocaine, heroin and cocaine culture was revealed by the head of the county's drug and alcohol action team.
Simon Aalders said 1,207 adults went through treatment services in Suffolk between April 1, 2006 and March 31 this year.
It is the first time the exact number has been collated from all the agencies involved.
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Mr Aalders said: “We have known for a long time that the drug services are extremely busy. It is not particularly surprising to us, but it does reveal the extent of the problem Suffolk is contending with.
“There's no evidence to suggest it is unusual compared to any other comparable part of the country.”
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Mr Aalders added a further 225 people aged 17 or under were also given treatment for substance misuse, although only around five per cent of them needed help in their battle against Class A drugs.
The figures were revealed after it was reported that Britain is now the cocaine capital of Europe with soaring numbers of youngsters taking the drug.
A report by the United Nations last month claimed more than 900,000 Britons buy cocaine. In addition the country has 350,000 heroin users, the largest number in Europe.
Police in Ipswich are currently waging war on drug dealers infiltrating the town from large cities.
The town's vice strategy following the killings of five sex workers in December also acknowledges the part played by drugs in forcing women to sell their bodies on the street.
One of the pillars of the strategy is to look at ways to tackle the drug problem and give support to those already hooked.
Mr Aalders said: “There's more money going into drug treatment than ever before.
“Suffolk ordinarily is a very safe county and has relatively low levels of crime.
“The police have clearly recognised things that are happening in Suffolk and have reacted in a very robust and effective way.
“It shows Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk itself is not some soft touch. There are a lot of very, very committed individuals who are going to make sure Suffolk is kept as safe as it can.
“We need to make sure we are providing as many services as we can and as effectively as possible.”
Mr Aalders said despite the figures, he believed the message about the dangers of substance abuse is getting across to the younger generation.
“I think young people do pick these messages up in a vast majority of cases. The role of education is going to be absolutely crucial in reducing the number of people taking up drugs and becoming addicts.”