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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 15:20 GMT
Police discuss heroin supply fear
The SDEA has warned of more heroin on Scotland's streets
Scotland's police chiefs are discussing how to curb the importation of heroin from Afghanistan.

The Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency warns that a 4,000-ton opium crop in Afghanistan could result in more heroin becoming available in Scotland.

Police are concerned that an upsurge in the availability of heroin could increase the death toll in Scotland.

About 1,600 people have died from drug overdoses in Scotland in the last five years.

A recent study showed that the numbers of those using heroin had fallen, but the total number of users still remains at 50,000.

'Key roles'

The SDEA is concerned that the bumper opium crop in Afghanistan may have implications for the fight against drugs in Scotland.

SDEA director Graeme Pearson said: "We've brought together about 160 people from across the country who have key roles in deciding how we intervene in the drug trade in Scotland.

Graeme Pearson
Graeme Pearson urged the public to help combat drugs

"Our group will be told by a European and United Nations perspective what's due to happen in the coming months and we can make preparations to interdict the drugs."

Mr Pearson said it was important to try and prevent the crops being cultivated in the first place and thereafter law enforcement agencies had to disrupt organised criminals who profit from the heroin from Afghanistan.

"We need to make sure the risks associated with drugs business in Scotland are so severe that dealers go away."

The public has a vital role in combating the supply of heroin on Scotland's streets, Mr Pearson added.

Country profile: Afghanistan
23 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
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02 Mar 05 |  South Asia
Heated debate over heroin report
03 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Your Views: Living on heroin
03 Feb 05 |  Scotland

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