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Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK

UK: Scotland

Fighting the drugs war - your views

The war against drugs is being fought on many fronts

Lothian and Borders Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood has told a conference that the war against drugs "cannot be won". Here are your comments.
Whether or not we will ever be able to stamp out the supply of and demand for illicit drugs, we do know that treatment works.

The NTORS project, the largest study of its kind ever carried out in the UK, has clearly demonstrated the value of treatment in the fight against drugs - estimating for example that residential programmes save around £3 for every £1 spent.

It is true that there are not enough resources to pay for the treatment that is required.

The UK Anti-Drug's co-ordinator has provided additional resources - but it is not enough.

Not only does treatment help tackle the problem of drugs, it also actually saves more money than it costs.

With that in mind, it seems hard to explain why more money can not be found to pay for it. Simon Shepherd, Chief Executive, EATA (European Association for the Treatment of Addiction, UK)

All official campaigns by national government, local government and its agencies have stressed that we are conducting a war against drugs.

Lothian and Borders Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood has said: "If it is a war we're not winning it and I doubt we've won a battle and I don't believe we ever can."

Being on the frontline you have to believe in what Tom Wood is saying. It would seem the authorities are plagued by a First World War mentality on drugs.

Once more over the top, one final push, nothing gained in return but more casualities. Currently we seem to be in no-man's land on this issue with neither the resources to go forward or the courage to withdraw without being called cowardly.

If it is social malaise as Tom Wood states then you have to conclude that only social action will deal with this huge problem.

Maybe we should look seriously at lessening the demand for drugs by resourcing inovative social schemes. Maybe it is time to have the courage to take one step back. Malcolm McCandless, Dundee

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16 Sep 99†|†Scotland
Drugs war 'a losing battle'

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