Crack Addiction and Treatment
The problem with crack as a drug and this addiction to it, is changing and developing in the UK. This ultimately leads to greater health and social problems which can challenge and destabilise society. According to the British Crime Survey (2003-2004), since 2001 the use of crack is greater and more prevalent than heroin. With almost 79,000 crack users compared to an estimated 64,000 heroin users. The Home Office stated in 2005 that there are double to amount of crack users amongst more susceptible groups.
It is true that there is not the epidemic that was said to have happened in the 1990s but the use of crack is growing in certain places in Europe. As the use of crack is growing it is contesting the already established heroin group. More and more people are using crack in tandem with heroin or as well as alcohol.
Increase in crack use
Despite this indication of increased crack use, the treatment available is still mainly directed at those addicted to heroin. With 84,000 main heroin users in UK rehab treatment centres today, which is twelve times the number of primary crack users in treatment (7,200). There are also a substantial number of people in treatment (16,300) using both crack and heroin. Both of these treatments have particular support needs that put added strains on health services and the criminal justice system.
One can only assume that the reasonably small number of crack users in treatment reflects the inadequate accessibility and choice of crack treatment services. Rather than reflecting the scale of problematic drug addiction use. Due to the lack of treatment services available there are huge amounts of crack users without any potential of treatment for them and this obviously has grave consequences. The Government has made certain efforts to recognise the issue. But without urgent action there is the great potential of an acceleration of the problems with crack. The increasing numbers of people abusing the drug, most notably in future generations.
Damaging Effects of Crack
Those that abuse crack will experience damaging effects on their physical and mental health, relationships, families and employment. The abuse of crack can have a shattering effect on individuals and their communities and is often associated with criminal activity and drug-related violence. Crack abuse undermines community and society, most notably affecting areas of social exclusion.
Crack treatment, despite not being widely enough available, can be greatly effective for those who receive it. Addicts will receive physical detoxification from the substance and will also have therapy and counselling to help with the psychological and mental problems that of course come alongside drug addiction and to help assimilate them back into normal society and life.
It cannot be denied that we need more government investment in crack-specific services and treatment. Most obviously, all drug services need to respond adequately to the needs of crack users. If those suffering from crack addiction do not receive the adequate attention and the tools needed to overcome their problems there will be an increase in crack addicts and the problems that will thus ensue.
The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drug rehab clinic treating all forms of addiction, including crack cocaine. For free and confidential advice please call 01462 851414.