Cannabis abuse rates 'soaring' - BBC News

By Whit · Jan 11, 2008 · ·
  1. Whit
    Cannabis abuse rates 'soaring'

    The number of adults seeking medical help for cannabis addiction has risen by 50% since Labour downgraded the drug, health authority figures show.
    Over 16,500 adults sought treatment for cannabis use in England in 2006/7 compared with 11,057 two years earlier when the drug moved from Class B to C.
    Currently 500 adults and children are being treated in England each week.
    The Department of Health said the rise in treatment reflected improvements in drug treatment and not cannabis use.
    But Marjorie Wallace of the mental health charity SANE said the reality was now that hospital beds were filling up with people suffering the effects of cannabis addiction, depriving others from treatment.
    Figures also show hospitals are treating more than 1,000 cases of alcohol-related problems a day.
    Drug and alcohol campaigners said the data showed young people were particularly at risk.
    The number of children needing medical help in hospitals or clinics after smoking cannabis has risen to more than 9,200.
    And among under-18s there was a rise of 40% in those seen by doctors in casualty or in the consulting room for alcohol-related problems over the last seven years.
    The government is currently considering whether to reverse its reclassification.
    Advocates of downgrading cannabis say the risks are low compared with alcohol or tobacco.
    o.gif start_quote_rb.gif Treatment services are getting better at engaging those in need of treatment, end_quote_rb.gif

    A Department of Health spokeswoman

    But others say the drug should be moved back to Class B, in line with drugs like amphetamines. This would mean people in possession could be jailed for five years and charged an unlimited fine.
    For possession of Class C drugs, such as steroids, the maximum penalty is a two-year prison sentence, but charges are rarely brought against people found with small quantities of such drugs.
    The British Medical Association said the figures strengthened its opposition to the drug.
    A spokesman said: "This is a drug that is mostly smoked, so that can cause lung damage and cancer.
    "There are also concerns about the potential negative effect cannabis has on users' psychiatric state."
    A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "The increasing numbers accessing treatment as a result of cannabis use demonstrates that treatment services are getting better at engaging those in need of treatment, despite an overall reduction in the prevalence of cannabis use."
    Addaction, a charity that treats people with drug problems, warned that young people often use cannabis at crucial development stages in their lives. "It does have serious impacts on mental health and physical development," said a spokesman.
    Marjorie Wallace, of the mental health charity SANE, said the figures were shocking, but not surprising.
    She said: "The reality is now that hospital beds are filling up with people suffering the effects of cannabis addiction, depriving others from treatment.
    "SANE been saying for years that cannabis is a dangerous drug; for some young people regular use can double the risk of developing later schizophrenia.
    "You only need to see one person whose mind has been distorted and life irreparably damaged, or talk to their family, to realise that the headlines are not scaremongering but reflect daily, and preventable, tragedies."
    Alcohol Concern said the figures on alchol abuse provided ample evidence for the need for a very serious look at the price and affordability.
    Spokesman Don Shenker added: "The number of off licences still selling alcohol to under age drinkers shows that a much stiffer penalty regime is required."

    Share This Article


  1. Greenport
    It does not cause cancer, that's a lie. Marijuana prevents cancer by killing off the old and dying (aka: potentially cancerous) cells thus it is a wonderful cancer prevention tool.
  2. AntiAimer
    Smurf would love to see these "willing" people who go in for Cannabis help.
  3. Micklemouse
    Spend a bit of time at an NHS Addiction Service or Mental Health Trust day hospital & you will mate. Whether or not you agree with the cannabis causing psychosis line or not, there is a lot of truth in the above article. Over the last decade A Certain Mouse has seen more people admitted to psychiatric in-patient care due to cannabis than any other drug, barring alcohol detox & pharmaceutical overdose. Most of these have been referred to Addiction Services with some success, some have needed several admissions & a lot of education before they realise that cannabis is just not for them, or the higher potency strains at least - he has known many with diagnoses of psychotic illness who can function fine so long as they stick to brickweed or resin but who lose the plot completely as soon as skunk is smoked.

    I do however take exception to Ms Wallace's views that people suffering mental health problems as a result of cannabis use are blocking beds - she misses the point that cannabis whilst playing it's part is not the whole of the problem. As with heroin & crack in Britain at present the fact that skunk has become so popular is a sign that there is something going wrong at a societal level, & with the way psychiatric services are managed. The majority of people A Certain Mouse has dealt with due to cannabis related psychiatric problems are from what could be termed the lower classes, more prone to poor education, low self-esteem, poor prospects for decent employment & income. High grade cannabis fills a hole for a while, but it also tends be to used solely to fill this hole, rather than to relax at the end of the day, or to meditate, & this is where problems arise - it is smoked day in day out, & from a very young age in many cases, cos let's face it, what else is there to do? And yes folks, cancer & lung disease are a concern due to the fact that in Britain most cannabis is smoked in combination with tobacco. Ms Wallace also misses the point that over the last 5 years the number of acute admission psychiatric in-patient beds in Britain has dropped drastically (when A Certain Mouse started working his Trust had 24 beds on 5 wards, with up to 30 people actually on the board; it is now 20 on 4 wards, & this for a city with a population in the region of 750,000. The amount of time & money spent finding beds for people in other parts of the country is phenomenal, never mind the stress put on the patient & their family & friends). If someone is acutely unwell, they are acutely unwell, & the contributing factors should not make a difference when it comes to getting the care they need. Rather than further demonising cannabis, her energies would be better directed towards campaigning for better provision, not only within the NHS, but for the less privileged members of our society as a whole.

    As for reclassification, they've got ot be joking - there is stil a lot of confusion left over from when it was downgraded, so changing the rules again will create so many nightmares it doesn't bear thinking about. I do feel though that there maybe should have been a distinction made between potencies when the law was changed, with the higher grades remaining Class B, & lower potencies made Class C, as to A Certain Mouse's mind, there is very little relation between even the best quality brickweed & the genetically modified variants bred for yield & potency. Of course in an ideal world it would have been decriminalised at the very least, & money spent on education of the joys & pitfalls of this wondrous herb. This is not however an ideal world.
  4. Zentaurus41
    I still think cannabis is a relatively a harmless drug if taken at the age of 18.
    Though for those people who start smoking from 12 +, i think there is a great chance of it causing problems as that person is not fully developed mentally or physically.

    But I don't think that cannabis should be blamed on people developing mental problems. If anything they already had mental problems in the first place and they are just self medicating.

    If anything alchol still causes more problems via addiction and violence with all the other related problems than cannabis could ever cause.

    As for reclassification, who cares ?
    Its not as if its ever made any big diffrence, swim smoked before it was class C, During class C and will do when its back to B again and well its not changed swims smoking habbits one bit.
  5. x cynic x
    Swim is absolutely sure that these people need THC in their system to function properly.

    On another note, Swim despises the ignorant users who smoke until they're mentally incapable of generating motivation. The government sees these imprudent fools and thinks that anyone who smokes must have a problem with abuse. There is no way any illicit substance will be legalized if the majority of people indulge without consideration of the consequences. Anyway, people should be allowed to smoke themselves into oblivion if they want. How can a governing force make that decision for them? America was founded by people escaping the oppression of their freedom. Now just take a look at the hipocrits we've become. Thomas Jefferson always had a fear that the government would have the power to take away people's liberty. He believed the that constituion should be thoroughly reviewed before the making of laws, and any law violating it should be obsolete. Unfortunately, the government had no regard for the people's right to pursuit of happiness. If people want to hurt themselves, or take drugs, they should have the choice to. It would certainly help eliminate the mentally weak, while controlling the population at the same time. However, if pursuing happiness involves harming another being, then maybe only violence should be prohibited.
  6. enquirewithin
    No one could sensibly disagree that smoking all day long every day is bad for you, especially if you are ignorant about cannabis and it's effects.

    But why not follow the punishment argument to it's conclusion and make alcohol a Class A drug in line with the problems it causes? It's widespread use must be an argument for it's total prohibition.
  7. chemlove
    of course using anything out of moderation is not good for you, Limited amounts of Marijuana. I think the trick is to find out what you can and can't handle and always stay with in your limits.
  8. KyleR22
    This really does piss me off.

    Is the reason for this not obvious? More people are openly asking for help because it is now a lower classified drug! Nobody will ask for help on a small cannabis addiction with huge charges being at risk.

    Honestly, stories like this really piss me off. Not to mention the bullshit propaganda mixed in with the story. I'm no neo-hippie and I don't think pot is the cure for everything, this story is just bullshit.
  9. I<3Salvia
    This harshly biased report against marijuana leaves a horribly bad taste in swims mouth. Yes swim doesn't feel that kids should be smoking pot until at least 18, and yes any drug whether ingested or naturally created by your body can be addictive and even debilitating once withdrawl has started, but that doesn't mean that you blame the drug, you blame the user for smoking pot all day every day. Pot's not for everybody, drug's in general aren't for everybody, and once people start getting some real, honest, legitimate education about drugs from our government, our t.v., and our papers this kind of bullshit is going to keep happening.

    This lady also forgot to mention in her report all the people that pot helps keep motivated, healthy, and alive. Swim can't tell you how many times pot's made his workdays better, and how many shitty, lonely night's pots been there for swim when no one else was. Swim would like to see this reporter fired for his/her retardation.
  10. enquirewithin
    The BBC has become a joke in recent years. So much for its much-vaunted freedom from bias. It's as Micklemous is saying, the problems are social rather than belonging to a drug. But the BBC is owned by the government and tends not to challenge the existing social order.

    Cannabis is no panacea, but it does help a lot of people, my cat included, by relieving stress and giving him fairly harmless enjoyment.
  11. Zentaurus41
    How many people who get busted are kids ?
    and how many of these kids or teenagers are being forced into help ?
    Maybe the police or there parents are putting there foot down and its just
    making the statistics looking for them.

    Its all a mind fuck if ya ask me and its down to what the goverment wants.
    To re-classify canabis as a class B drug.

    Will it make any diffrence at all ?

  12. enquirewithin
    Yes! There will be more criminals, which is fine for the government as it gets super-prisons constructed, eager to emulate the US in incarcerating more and more of its citizens and creating a prison industrial complex for the UK.
  13. FuBai
    Up until a few years ago, the general consensus amongst drug users was that cannabis was almost entirely harmless. Of course this is probably not the case, but many people who used did not really think it would do anything to the physical or mental well-being. In fact most did not believe that cannabis was addictive, which helped to prevent them from linking health problems they may have been experiencing to the use of the drug. Now the papers are constantly filled with the "scientific" evidence that Cannabis causes a vast array of problems - even though the majority of this evidence remains un-proven and circumstantial. In fact, if you look at the scientific evidence itself it does not claim that Cannabis causes psychosis, it says there is a correlation which is not the same thing. But the papers are filled with it, it is purveyed as fact by DARE educators and people in positions of authority and it is unsurprising that we see a sort of reverse placebo effect - instead of the fake medicine making people well because they believe it will, we see it making them less stable because they believe that's what it does. If you create great social pressure then you will have increasing numbers of people going in to be diagnosed with these problems because they now know that they can exist. I would say that there is, therefore, probably a bi-partite reason as to why admissions are increasing - 1) people who may actually have problems now are better able to realise they are problems and 2) people are making themselves unstable by placebo effect. If you believe you are going mad for long enough, eventually you will.
  14. truth
    i do not agree with this article. People Need To BE More Responsible. Swim is 18 and marijuana helps swim so much. swim has very bad anxiety and without marijuana swim cannot go out without getting nauseated or worried. marijuana also motivates swim. i agree with this world needing to be more educated. it is very sad to see so many lies and so much deception in the media and news. But hey the elites have been doing it since the beginning of time. the world needs to wake up.
  15. static_vodka_420
    swim is picturing these "cannabis addicts" filling up hospital beds.... complete bullshit
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!