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UK is Europe's 'addictions capital', says think tank

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CocaineThe UK has become the drug and alcohol "addictions capital of Europe", a think tank has warned. The Centre for Social Justice - set up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith - said drink and drug abuse cost the UK £36bn a year.

Its report warned that the UK has become a hub for websites peddling potentially dangerous "legal highs".

The CSJ also criticised the government for failing to tackle heroin addiction and cheaply available alcohol.

The report, No Quick Fix, found that last year 52 people in England and Wales died after taking legal highs, up from 28 the previous year.

The substances, sometimes referred to as club drugs and including Salvia and Green Rolex, are often marketed as bath salts or research chemicals.

But the drugs can be sold legally as long as they are clearly marked "not for human consumption", but have been known to cause permanent bladder damage, blood poisoning and death.

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