Rising numbers of young people are ending up in hospital for drug abuse as the price of heroin, cocaine and ecstasy drops, new figures show.
Statistics from the NHS reveal a sharp rise in admission for drug-related health issues in the ten years up to 2007.
Admissions of under-16 and those aged 25-34 increased by more than half. There were 1,200 admissions of under-16s last year alone.
Experts told The Times that the increase can likely be linked to the falling price of hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.
The drop in price suggests that larger quantities of drugs are being smuggled in to the UK despite Government efforts to block the illegal trade.
Ken Checinski, an addictions psychiatrist at St George’s Hospital in London, said: “Affordability is at an all-time low and, like with alcohol, that just leads people to use more or stronger drugs, whether it is a student using skunk – a form of cannabis that is ten times stronger than the typical joint – or a City worker’s cocaine binge.
“The rise in admissions can also be explained by using multiple drugs in greater quantities or purity. All this will have an effect on your health.”
According to figures published in The Times, the illegal drug market in 2003-04 was worth £5.3billion. In 2005-06 the Government spent £1.5 billion on its drugs strategy.