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Changes in recreational drug use

The trends in drug use have varied over recent years, and can be reflective of a number of things including culture, cost and accessibility of different types of drugs. The DrugScope Street Drug Trends Survey (2009) found that more people were combining different drugs due to the low purity of illegal substances having an impact on the desired effects. Another trend of ‘party drugs’ has led to increased usage of certain types of substances including mephedrone, GBL, ketamine, ecstasy, crystal meth and ‘legal highs’.

The change in recreational drug use has led to new problems with abuse of these substances arising. As most facilities cater for a range of addictions, including substances such as crack cocaine and heroin, individuals who feel alienated by what they may perceive as more severely addictive drugs may not seek treatment at these facilities. 

Although a person with an addiction to any substance will benefit from professional support, engaging the individual is vital for treatment to be successful. This is reflected by new projects and developments targeting the party drug user group. In particular a new NHS facility is the first of its kind to offer treatment solely to those suffering from addiction to party drugs. 

In addition to this, typically users will be younger, usually in their twenties, have good social networks, and often are employed and affluent (, 2011). This means the type of treatment needs to be reflective of these factors, with the individual needs of the service users being address. This may be more focused around relapse prevention, increasing self esteem, and addressing cravings. Whether it’s an NHS drugs center, outpatient services or private treatment, the new issues surrounding this increased trend in the use of party drugs means current treatment services will be required to adapt, to meet the needs of this future patient group.


Drug Scope, (2009). Falling illegal drug purity 'accelerates trend' in users combining different drugs. Sourced at (2011) Club drug clinic opens its doors. Sourced at


Published by on 25/01/2020.

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