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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A Brief History of British Drug Policy, 1950-2001
Author(s): Yates, Rowdy
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Keywords: Drug abuse Great Britain History
Great Britain Social conditions 20th century
Drug control Great Britain.
Heroin abuse Great Britain
Issue Date: May-2002
Date Deposited: 4-May-2009
Citation: Yates R (2002) A Brief History of British Drug Policy, 1950-2001. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 9 (2), pp. 113-124.
Abstract: Following the establishment of the so-called “New British System” (based on the recommendations of the Rolleston Committee in 1926), numbers of recorded opiate and cocaine addicts fell significantly in the early 1930s and remained stable and at a relatively low level for the next two decades. It was in the latter part of the 1950s that reports of a new drug “epidemic” began to circulate. Concerns centred on the use of drugs by ethnic minorities, notably black West Indians and Africans in ‘blues clubs’ and visiting black American musicians in jazz clubs. Once again the drugs epidemic was associated with jazz (“jungle”) music and colour. By the end of the 1960s, young white teenagers had become involved too and the world had seen the student riots in Paris; the birth of Swinging London with its attendant Merseybeat; the hippy revolution in San Francisco; and a growing youth protest, both in the USA and Britain, over western military involvement in Vietnam. Politicians and journalists invariably associated these events with the use of drugs by young people. Over the last four decades of the 20th Century, the use of drugs by young people (and the attendant treatment industry) has grown exponentially and the focus has moved from individual treatment to public health and infection control to the current preoccupation with drugs/crime connection. This brief history attempts to summarise these developments in a short article chronicling the major milestones and events.
DOI Link: 10.1080/09687630110118478
Rights: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the journal, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Volume 9, No. 2, 2002, © Informa UK Ltd.: Published in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. Copyright: Informa UK Ltd. The definitive version is available at; Published in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. Copyright: Taylor & Francis (Informa Healthcare). This is an electronic version of an article published in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Volume 9, Issue 2, May 2002, pp. 113 - 124. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy is available online at:

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