Druglink article 2010 – Teenage kicks by Max Daly

How did the isolated County Durham village of Cockfield kick off a nationwide panic over legal highs?

In the vast, thinly populated landscape that dominates the peaceful district of Teesdale in south west County Durham, lies the old mining village of Cockfield. It has a primary school, a village hall, a few shops, two pubs, the obligatory Chinese take-away and a working men’s club on its last legs. At the risk of offending the villagers of Low Wham to the north and Staindrop to the south, Cockfield is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. There’s not a lot for teenagers to do: one of the most popular hang-outs is outside the local Co-Op. Buses run infrequently to the nearby towns of Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle, while a bus to the larger town of Darlington is a three hour round-trip.

It’s probably safe to say that few people outside Teesdale, which lists tractor and quad bike thefts as its most taxing crimes, would have heard of Cockfield. But that was before the village found itself the unlikely focal point of a national drug panic around the cocaine/ecstasy style legal high, mephedrone.

Teenage kicks (PDF)

Additional keywords: rural