Record rise in 'baby boomer' heroin addicts will
The NHS is ill-prepared
to cope with the consequences of a record number of
"baby boomer" heroin addicts seeking treatment, a
drugs charity claimed yesterday.
The warning came as figures showed a record 13 per
cent increase in users aged 45 and over referred for
treatment last year.
From the 1986 "Just Say No" campaign to its recent
"Ask Frank" strategy, the Government's focus has
been to deter young, first-time users. Research
suggested last month a rise in use of Class A drugs
in England, with the number of people taking heroin
and crack cocaine rising by 90,000 in two years to
340,000. But statistics released by the National
Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse yesterday
showed that between April 2004 and March this year,
the number of over-45s seeking treatment for heroin
jumped from 11,475 to 13,015.
David Raynes, the director of the National Drug
Prevention Alliance, said: "Most addicts manage to
stop using heroin by their 40s . a 13 per cent
increase in just one year is astonishing. It shows
the Government's attempts to control drug use are
Martin Barnes, of the charity Drugscope, said the
NHS ignored the health implications of recovering
addicts at its peril.
A Department of Health spokesman said: "Record
amounts of funding for drug treatment have already
resulted in record numbers of people entering and
staying in treatment. But there is still room for