General Awareness

Drug and alcohol use is widespread in the UK with harm impacting disproportionately on disadvantaged individuals in socially deprived areas.

While official data, derived mainly from household surveys suggests that drug use in the UK is in decline, those most likely to experience risk and drug related harm are likely to be excluded from the official counting. Findings from the 2009/10 British Crime Survey indicate a decline in cannabis use among the 16 - 24 year old age group. However encouraging these signs are they are not likely to reflect the more concerning level of risk and harm associated with Class A drug use where the levels of use remain largely unchanged.

An awareness of drug and alcohol use; the effects, risks, legal status and potential harm is essential for anyone working in health, social work and social care, education and youth work or the criminal justice sector.