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Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 17:54 GMT
Drug policy to be overhauled
Drugs kit
Anti-drug campaigns are to have a new focus
"Just say no" style anti-drug campaigns are to become a thing of the past in Scotland, following a change of heart by the Scottish Executive.

More resources will instead be devoted to telling people about the risks of drug taking and the help available for addicts and their families.

The move follows research which suggests the just say no strategy, which has been used for many years, has failed.

Full details of the new strategy are still to be revealed, but an executive spokesman said it should not be seen as a sign that the authorities are "going soft on drugs".

Dr Richard Simpson
Dr Simpson is keen to see drug policy change

Dr Richard Simpson, the deputy justice minister, told the Sunday Herald newspaper: "The only time you will hear me use terms such as 'War On Drugs' and 'Just Say No' is to denigrate them."

It is thought the executive will focus on harm reduction programmes and revisit the country's methadone system.

Dr Simpson told the paper: "I've never used the term 'teach children how to take drugs', but what I would say is that we need to provide them with information.

"We need to say 'we'd rather you didn't take ecstasy, but if you make that decision, here are the risks'.

'Got to be realistic'

"We have to give them all the information they need to take responsibility for themselves."

He added: "It's not about us wagging a finger at young people as they won't pay attention to that - so it's not worthwhile.

"We've got to be very realistic and not say 'you're going to die if you take ecstasy', what we will say is 'some people do die when they take ecstasy but we don't truly know why'."

Addict injecting
Scotland has more users than previously thought

As many as 60,000 people have died drug related deaths in Scotland in the past 20-years.

In November last year a study revealed that there are almost twice as many people with drug problems in Scotland as had previously been estimated.

Earlier estimates suggested there were 30,000 people misusing drugs such as heroin, temazepam and cocaine.

But the new research, commissioned by the executive, revealed that the figure is likely to be closer to 56,000.

It is based on research carried out by Glasgow University's Centre for Drug Misuse Research in conjunction with the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health.

BBC Scotland's Jamie McIvor reports
"Research for the Scottish Executive suggests simply warning people to say no is is no longer effective"
See also:

15 Nov 01 | Scotland
Large-scale drugs problem revealed
12 Nov 01 | Scotland
Drug court hears its first case
01 Nov 01 | Scotland
Treatment of drug addict defended
01 Nov 01 | Scotland
Fears over cocaine use
22 Aug 01 | Scotland
Call for drug user addiction plan
24 Jul 01 | Scotland
Rise in addicts seeking help
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