DDN April 2017

‘We need to understand the risks of Xanax and the culture behind it’

It’s never easy to weigh up the level of drug risk based on America – remember the hysteria over crystal meth a few years ago, with drug services in the UK gearing up for the scale of devastation seen in some communities of the US? But with evidence of cases multiplying and including many young people, we need to understand the risks of Xanax (alprazolam) and the culture behind it. Anxiety is starting to be well documented, particularly among young people, and Xanax’s link with celebrity makes it difficult to deter experimentation with the drug. Kevin Flemen’s article explains the nature of the threat and what to look out for.

Throughout the rest of this month’s issue we talk a lot about prison – including the perspective of a service manager, who until recently was working at the frontline of prison substance misuse services. He feels compelled to share experience of clients being rushed through very intense treatment programmes, and of many opportunities for holistic interventions being dismissed or unsupported.

We can see the results of life-changing interventions through Addaction’s Trans4orm programme and RAPt’s thriving apprenticeship programme – both of which have the activities that are essential to self-sufficiency and self-esteem at their heart, and demonstrate results of properly supported initiatives. The other huge opportunity in investing in engagement with those in the criminal justice system is, as Charles Gore reminds us in relation to hepatitis C, to offer life-saving inventions and ‘send people out of prison better than they went in’.

Claire Brown, editor

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