As the UK is gripped by more unrelenting bad weather as the months pass by, there seems to be one thing that is finally loosening its hold. Substance abuse among young people. In an age where the media give us very little to cheer, this should undoubtedly be seen as a small, yet crucial, step in the right direction.
Despite our young people being the European leader in alcohol consumption, a report released by Public Health England has indicated that there was actually a fall in young people seeking help for substance misuse. This is now the fourth year in a row that the trend has continued. Clearly something is working.
On the surface the statistics look very appealing but as we peek behind the curtain, it becomes apparent there is another monster lurking in wait. Legal Highs. The relative ease of access has meant these have become extremely popular, especially among young people. A recent study conducted by World Drug Report indicated that over 670,000 Britons aged between 15-24 had tried legal highs at least once. Although the feeling with many young people may be, “Well if its legal I should be fine” the reality is much starker. As frequency of use increases, so have the inevitable problems. As per the BBC, last year saw a record high number of 52 people die from legal highs or as they put it, “an average of one a week.” Alison Ward, from No Limits, recently spoke to Radio Solent about legal highs and gave the views of charity. You can hear the full interview here.
There is no doubt that substance abuse is intrinsically linked with the vulnerability of an individual. With over 30% of the child population in Southampton in poverty, this makes them extremely susceptible and vulnerable to such situations. At No Limits, we have a project named DASH which aims to help young people get information, advice and support if they are struggling with any kind of substance abuse.
So next time you or anyone you know of goes through troubling times with substance misuse, pop in to one of our drop in centres to find some support and help.