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The Economist reported despite the horrible case of a five-year-old girl, Thusa Kamaleswaran, who was shot and paralysed during a botched attack by the Brixton-based GAS gang (which stands for Guns and Shanks, or knives) on the Stockwell-based ABM gang (All ‘Bout Money). The article claims that "Mercifully, such tragedies are becoming rarer. The number of firearms offences recorded by police is at its lowest level this millennium. Last year 39 people died from gunshots, down from 96 a decade earlier. This is not just because of better medicine; the number of people entering hospital accident and emergency departments with gunshot wounds has also dropped, from 1,370 in 2003 to 972 last year."
In this BMJ story, it draws upon a report by the NHS Information Centre which generally concludes that secondary school pupils aged 11-15 are taking fewer drugs, drinking less alcohol, and smoking less. "The proportion of secondary school pupils in this age group who had ever taken drugs fell by 12 percentage points in the past 10 years, from 29% in 2001 to 17% in 2011....Twelve per cent of pupils reported having taken drugs in the past year, down from 20% in 2001. However, drug use increased with age. Only 3% of 11 year olds reported having taken drugs in the past year, but this rose to 23% of 15 year olds....Smoking behaviour was also in decline, said the authors, who found that a quarter of 11 to 15 year olds had smoked at least once, the lowest proportion since the survey began in 1982, when 53% of respondents had tried it...Drinking alcohol was another declining habit, the survey found, but almost half (45%) of the pupils said that they had drunk alcohol at least once, compared with 61% in 2001.“ http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e5153
Is it your impression that things are getting better? I'm not entirely sure, although these stats are encouraging and it's good to have some positive news for a change. I know these two stories have just been plucked out of the media to paint a favourable picture but do these reports do anything to reassure you that we're heading in the right direction?