The Home Office has published its 2017 drug strategy, at a time of a sharp rise in drug-related deaths despite falling levels of use.
It targets psychoactive substances – formerly known as legal highs – performance-enhancing drugs, including “chemsex” substances, and misuse of prescription medicines.
There is a shift away from an “abstinence-only” approach to drug treatment and a return to an emphasis on harm-reduction and recovery.
203,800 people in England and Wales received treatment for drug misuse in 2015-16 and fewer drug users were coming into treatment. The number entering treatment under 25, particularly for heroin use, has fallen substantially in the past 10 years.
Stephen Port | 16284
The families of four men murdered by “Grindr killer” Stephen Port, who met his victims on a gay dating app before spiking them with lethal doses of GHB and dumping their bodies close to his east London flat between June 2014 and September 2015, are suing the Metropolitan Police for more than £200,000 over claims that police failed to link the deaths due to homophobia inside the police force.
The men, Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, all died of GHB poisoning. Three of them were found in a churchyard next to Mr Port’s home in Barking.
Port left a fake suicide note with Mr Whitworth that read: “Please do not blame the guy I was with last night.” Police initially thought the youngsters had overdosed and dismissed concerns raised by their friends and family members. Officers only realised they had been murdered after a fresh investigation was launched following the death of Mr Taylor, who was Mr Port’s final victim.
Seventeen family members of the victims are suing Scotland Yard in the High Court, claiming that officers discriminated against their relatives because they were gay. They allege there were “breaches of duty and inaction” and accuse the force of breaching the Equality Act 2010, of negligence, and misusing or abusing their power by failing to properly investigate; and are seeking “aggravated and exemplary damages” in excess of £200,000.
Officers admitted they “missed opportunities” after failing to spot similarities between the killings.
Stephen Port will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murders of four young gay men. Victims’ relatives cheered and clapped as Mr Justice Openshaw told Port he would never be released, and one woman in the public gallery of the Old Bailey courtroom called the impassive Port a “scumbag”.
Port stalked his victims on dating websites like Grindr and plied them with drinks spiked with fatal amounts of the drug GHB. He then raped them while they were unconscious, and dumped their bodies in or near a graveyard within 500 metres of his flat in Barking, east London.
Then he embarked on an elaborate cover-up, disposing of their mobile phones, repeatedly lying to police and even planted a fake suicide note in the hand of one of his victims, taking the blame for the death of another of his victims.
Port was found guilty of the murders after a jury deliberated for 28 hours and 27 minutes. He was also convicted of a string of sex offences against seven other men who came forward following his arrest.
A man in the public gallery shouted at Port: “I hope you die a long slow death you piece of s–t.”
Your Activist is thrilled that, at last, his many victims have received justice. Over the years we have repeatedly reported that gay dating web sites and apps may not be safe. Please please make sure that if you use these apps and sites, you use your common sense and take care.
UK police are reviewing the deaths of dozens men who used sex-enhancing drugs, amid concerns that cases previously dismissed as drug overdoses may be further victims of serial killer Stephen Port.
The Metropolitan Police Service told CNN they had identified at least 58 deaths from poisoning by the date rape drug GHB between June 2011 and October 2015 — the period in which Port carried out his crimes.
“It is not known if these deaths were related to chemsex activities. In many cases police involvement was limited with the matter dealt with by the coroner,” a police spokesman told CNN. “A review of these deaths is now under way to establish any suspicious circumstances.”