Read the article for free in the latest issue of Drugs and Alcohol Today
United Kingdom, 7 November 2011 - New research published in the latest issue of Drugs and Alcohol Today has highlighted the troubling confusion surrounding so-called ‘legal-highs’. The research suggests that young people are increasingly turning to ‘Bubble’, – a generic term that has evolved for unidentified white powders –, following the ban on Mephedrone and the decline in the purity of other popular street drugs. The paper documents the changing shifts and attitudes in the market for legal and illegal drugs, and the daunting array of synthetic substances now available with unknown content and identity. The article is available to read for free until 30 November, by visiting http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=1745-9265&volume=11&issue=3
The article, the fourth in a series of articles in Drugs and Alcohol Today highlighting emerging drug trends in the UK, presents the first findings of a survey of young adults on a night out in the North West, undertaken in November 2010, a few months after Mephedrone became a Class B controlled substance. In their paper, ”Mephedrone, ‘bubble’ and unidentified white powders: the contested identities of synthetic highs”, researchers in criminology at Lancaster University, Fiona Measham, Karenza Moore and Jeanette Ostergaard, highlight the troubling confusion amongst users about the identity of what they were taking, and of particular concern, also their apparent lack of knowledge about the specific chemical identity of the white powders they were consuming.
Fiona Measham, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster University and co-author of the paper, explains, “The development of two-tier markets for cocaine and ‘pills’ has led to a growing confusion around legal and illegal drugs - denoted in the shifting meaning of Bubble in the north west of England from a slang term for (at that point legal) mephedrone to any unidentified white powder with stimulant effects sold by street dealers. Some users do not necessarily know, care or have the financial means to try to influence which ‘powder’ or ‘pill’ they are taking, leading users, service providers and policy-makers in to uncharted territory.”
Dr Moore adds: "Street mephedrone, 'bubble' and generic pills and powders signal the reappearance of drugs with predominately stimulant effects that carry little of the 'celebrity culture' kudos of powder cocaine or premium quality MDMA. We could be witnessing the renaissance of 'cheap and cheerful' stimulants appropriate to our 'age of austerity'. This rapidly changing drug market poses particular challenges for already hard-pressed drug services catering for teenagers and young adults."
The paper and this important research also received coverage in The Observer yesterday (‘Young drug users turn to ‘bubble’ for a cheap high’).
The paper appears Volume 11, Issue 3 of Drugs and Alcohol Today. Published by Emerald Group Publishing, it aims to bring readers the best in new thinking in drugs and alcohol practice, focusing on patterns of drug and alcohol use, developments in treatment and early interventions, drugs and the criminal justice system, service user involvement, as well as local, national and international drug policy..
For more information, visit www.emeraldinsight.com/dat.htm or contact Jo Sharrocks, Publisher, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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