No fall in use of “club drugs” despite closure of venues and festivals during lockdown

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

A pioneering clinic which helps people overcome addiction to club drugs has not seen a dip in drug use whilst festivals are on hold and clubs closed due to the pandemic.

Instead Club Drug Clinic founder, Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, said: “We have seen the opposite. In contrast with drugs like heroin, which people might buy on the street, people might buy club drugs through social media or the dark net. Supplies do not seem to have been disrupted.”

He said Covid-19 has meant people are more isolated and that can exacerbate problems with “dealers only too happy to drive more use to their product”.

The Club Drug Clinic in Earl’s Court has been open throughout the pandemic for patients from Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, with a range of face-to-face and video calls.

Over the past decade it has seen more than 1,000 people, and staff say it has a 70 per cent success rate.

Founder psychiatrist, Dr Bowden-Jones, said a team of staff including key workers, nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists, work intensively with patients with frequent contact during the week, with an emphasis on psychological support. They also help people using prescription drugs.

The clinic recently welcomed health minister Jo Churchill to mark its 10th birthday.

During her socially-distanced visit she met therapist Becky Harris and founder Dr Bowden-Jones.

The minister said: “Addiction services focus on prevention, delivery and recovery, which are all equally important.”

For help with addiction contact or call 020 3 317 3000.

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