Co-Morbidity

 

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In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

According to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (PDF | 3.4 MB) an estimated 43.6 million (18.1%) Americans ages 18 and up experienced some form of mental illness. In the past year, 20.2 million adults (8.4%) had a substance use disorder. Of these, 7.9 million people had both a mental disorder and substance use disorder, also known as co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.Various mental and substance use disorders have prevalence rates that differ by gender, age, race, and ethnicity. 

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Those are the American figures, now take a look at some British ones, in 2014/15 there were 8,149 hospital admissions of drug related mental health and behavioural disorders that’s 14% higher than the previous year. There were also 14,279 hospital admissions for poisoning as a consequence of drug use, that’s 57% up on 2003/4. 

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24% of those arrested by police for assault later tested positive for drugs, in 12% of those cases the drug of choice was cannabis. More British people than ever are taking drugs but to all intents and purposes we’re not addicted, even with a surge in drug abuse brought on by a recession, austerity and economic uncertainty. Despite this lack of addiction there’s been an increase in comorbidity ( mental illness coinciding with drug use), an increase in drug driving, and an increase in assaults (how many of those involved in the perpetration of knife & gun crime would have been found to have used drugs if they’d been caught at the scene?).

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There’s been an increase in parents attending their own children’s funerals, an increase in police attending teenage crimes scenes, an increase in community concerns about the increasingly violent ways in which teenage members of their communities are meeting their end. The only thing that hasn’t increased is governmental concern about what’s going on, the kind of concern that could lead to an increase not a decrease in policing numbers and police budgets. British police have form when it comes to targeting big time drug dealers and the havoc and mayhem they create in Britain’s cities. Out of control children (black and white) are running around with guns and knives and pockets stuffed full of cash and besides being bemused, the government has cut policing budgets time and again and chosen to do nothing.

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The stats on Cannabis farms make for astounding reading, that’s thousands of suburban terraced homes in which plants and not people are being housed. The police used to raid thousands of these properties a year, returning the homes to estate agents who could then arrange for them to be filled by real people with real housing needs. However, the number of cannabis farm raids has dropped, the reason? A cut in policing manpower and budgets.

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Tied to the issue of cannabis farms is modern slavery, the enslaving of homeless people for the sole purpose of cultivating the cannabis crop. According to Teresa May (she who has declared Eritrea a ‘safe haven’ for returning refugees) ‘Britain leads the world in its efforts to tackle modern slavery’ but not it would seem in eradicating homelessness or cannabis farming. 

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