Drug information charity DrugScope supports today’s reclassification of crystal methamphetamine (1) (crystal meth) to Class A as a sensible precautionary move. There is as yet no evidence that the UK is on the verge of a crystal meth epidemic, but the charity has called for additional resources and training for frontline drug and healthcare workers.
Given the relative ease of production within national borders – keeping costs down and maximising the potential for profit – it is possible that the UK will be susceptible to some level of crystal meth use in the future. DrugScope has concerns about whether the drug treatment field has sufficient resources to cope with even a small population of crystal meth users, particularly given concerns about future levels of funding. Drug and alcohol workers as well as health and social care staff need training on the harms associated with the drug (2), to be able to recognise its use and respond to treatment needs effectively.
Martin Barnes, DrugScope’s Chief Executive, said today:
“While law enforcement agencies are now able to devote more resources to tackle production and supply of the drug, there needs to be additional support for frontline drug and health care professionals, not least to be able to identify whether there is an increase in use and dependency.
“Services for stimulant users have improved considerably over the last five years but as there is no viable substitute drug, services rely on specialist talking therapies for clients. Significant investment is needed to ensure that there are appropriate services for people using the whole range of stimulants such as amphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and crystal meth right across the UK.”
Notes for editors
- (1) Crystal methamphetamine, a strong stimulant, is a synthetic drug closely related chemically to amphetamine (‘speed’), though it produces greater effects on the central nervous system. The drug has significant potential for misuse and dependence, with a ‘high’ that is more intense and longer lasting than that of cocaine. The drug’s use and spread is of concern in several countries, including the USA, Australia, Thailand and Japan. For more information on the drug, visit the DrugScope information pages:
- (2) Risks associated with crystal meth use include the spread of blood-borne viruses through injecting, dental problems and tooth decay, psychiatric problems including psychosis and increased risk of uninhibited (and potentially unsafe) sexual behaviour.
- DrugScope is the UK’s leading centre of expertise on drugs. Our aim is to inform policy and reduce drug-related risk. We provide quality information, promote effective responses to drug taking, undertake research at local, national and international level, advise on policy-making, encourage informed debate and speak for our member bodies working on the ground.
Posted: 18th January 2007
For more information please contact Ruth Goldsmith in the DrugScope Press Office on 020 7940 7517 (07736 895563 out of hours) or at firstname.lastname@example.org