UN slams celebrities like Amy Winehouse for cocaine use
Celebrity drug habits are encouraging more young people to take illegal substances, according to a UN report out today.
Musicians including Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty were named as celebrities who have been blamed for the rise in drug taking in Britain, after being treated too leniently by the UK justice system.
Philip Emafo, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) claimed celebrity drug-takers glamorised substance abuse and called for top drug dealers to be targeted.
The report stated: ‘Depending on how the authorities respond in the case, the media reports and associated internet chatter often reflect or generate perceptions that the system has treated the celebrity more leniently than others.’
The UN also said governments had clamped down on street dealers but had not addressed the core problem of big criminal gangs importing drugs.
Data from the Home Office revealed cocaine use among 16-24-year-olds has more than doubled since 2000 and Britain has one of the highest levels of cocaine use in Europe, alongside Spain and Italy.
One cause is the drop in price of the drug, which surveys suggest is taking the place of ecstasy on the club scene.
Prof Hamid Ghodse, a member of the INCB board, said of the celebrity association with cocaine: ‘They get more lenient responses by the judiciary and law enforcement, and that is regrettable.’
He added: ‘There should not be any difference between a celebrity who is breaking the law and non-celebrities. Not only does it give the wrong messages to young people, who are often quite impressionable, but the wider public become cynical about the responses to drug offenders.’