Highest in Europe – one in ten Scots used cannabis last year

Highest in Europe – one in ten Scots used cannabis last year

SCOTS are some of the biggest users of drugs in Europe, a new study has shown.
The annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), has shown that 11 per cent of Scottish adults used cannabis last year – second only to Italy – compared with an European average of 6.8 per cent, and a UK rate of 8.4 per cent.

The report also showed Scotland has the highest usage of cocaine (3.8 per cent), amphetamines (2.2 per cent) and LSD (0.6 per cent), while ecstasy use came in at 3.2 per cent, second to the Czech Republic, which has a rate of 3.5 per cent.

The figures follow controversy over cannabis classification following UK government drug adviser Professor David Nutt’s sacking last week.

He had spoken out against the decision to reclassify cannabis from a Class C drug to the more dangerous category B.

The EMCDDA’s figures, which are based on the most up-to-date regional cannabis-use statistics, revealed that the Dutch were among the lowest users, with just 5.4 per cent using the drug.

Scottish Drugs Forum director David Liddle said the figures pointed to wider issues about approaches to tackling drug use.

“They raise the question of what is the best route, through education and giving young people information about drug use, or through the legal route,” he said. “The bigger issue is the one of early use, which leads young people on to particular cultures and problematic use of illegal substances, but early drunkenness and smoking are also linked to this.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “This report highlights why Scotland’s drugs problem cannot be tackled overnight.

“We need long-term cultural change, which is why we launched ‘Road to Recovery’, Scotland’s national drugs strategy.”

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Bill Aitken said the figures reflected the need for a rethink on drugs policy.

Mr Aitken said: “These are clearly very concerning figures, and the cannabis statistics in particular result from the lack of a firm message from the UK government on cannabis classification.”
Source: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland 7th Nov. 2009

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