chapter  5
16 Pages

British Attitudes to Drugs

In the I920s there were only a small number of drug addicts in Britain, most of whom were either health professionals or patients who had become addicts during a particular course of treatment. During the last 40 years of the twentieth century, however, the problem took on a different dimension as drug use was adopted by an increasing number of people for recreational purposes. By the I960s the use of drugs such as cannabis or LSD by the young was seen as a necessary act of political dissent. Since that time there has been a major growth in drug use, particularly-though not exclusively-among the young, a pattern that is to be found in much of the industrialized world. Thus, while only 5 percent of 14 and 15 year olds had ever been offered a drug in 1969, more than 40 percent had been by 1994 (see Figure 5.1).'