Research shows increasing number of people using synthetic drugs despite no increased death rates
Two decades on, the debate around synthetic drugs – from heroin and cocaine, to ecstasy and methamphetamine – is still largely unravelled. But it is clear that some of them are causing widespread harm and need urgent scrutiny, particularly as they have emerged as a major source of income for gangs.
In the US alone, synthetic drugs now account for more than one in 10 new drug cases reported in 2015; in Britain it is around one in four new drugs in use. They have been linked to numerous deaths in the UK, with the majority blamed on synthetic drugs.
The British government, which is set to launch its review later this year, and the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have agreed to launch research into synthetic drugs as part of the review.
Researchers in the field have identified a multitude of dangers associated with them and in December 2016 the UK government launched an official consultation asking people whether they were using synthetic drugs, including their effect on mental health and development.
This has prompted public health experts to question whether it is possible to stop the rise in synthetic drugs by using better surveillance. A consultation paper published by researchers in 2014 showed that a third of the 1,072 people who took part in the survey, had taken synthetic drugs in the past 12 months.
Dr David Nutt, 출장former Health Secretary, said the problem posed by synthetic drugs was as complex as the human body.
“There are all kinds of different types of reactions, such as euphoria, but there’s also anxiety, depression, hallucinations, all of which are going on. So we don’t yet know how many people, if any, will die, but they’re having serious effects on society.”
Dr James O’Co제주출장샵nnor, Head of Clinical Psychological Research for Addiction Scotland, said he welcomed the UK’s initiative but it was too early to declare its impact.
“We’d like to be able to say it can prevent death, as well as being a potentially life-saving alternative to drugs that don’t necessarily work, but we’re yet to do that,” he said.
“The UK has already recognised the harm produced by some drugs, so there’s a significant risk we can’t be effective at preventing them.”
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