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Iona Colvin, Glasgow City Council
"Where we need to take action, we will take action"
 real 28k

Gail McCann, Mothers Against Drugs
"This was a horrific accident waiting to happen"
 real 28k

Dalmarnock residents
"This is a deprived area - it's terrible"
 real 28k

Thursday, 27 January, 2000, 16:56 GMT
Action demand after boy's 'heroin' ordeal

Graffiti wall Dalmarnock is one of Glasgow's deprived areas

An anti-drugs pressure group is calling for increased action after a three-year-old boy apparently swallowed heroin.

The boy was critically ill after eating what is believed to have been the contents of a 10 bag of heroin in his home on the 16th floor of a tower block in the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow.

His condition in Yorkhill Hospital has since improved. He is being moved from intensive care into a general ward, where his condition is said to be stable.

We need to recognise there are hundreds of other kids being brought up in the same circumstances
Gail McCann
A Strathclyde Police spokesman said it was believed the boy had swallowed a controlled substance, possibly heroin. Tests are still being carried out.

A 29-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman had been charged under the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act.

Gail McCann, founder of the pressure group Mothers Against Drugs, said: "Obviously it's grabbed a headline but I think we need to recognise there are hundreds of other kids being brought up in the same circumstances.

"This is a horrific incident but for me it's been an accident waiting to happen for a long number of years.

Social workers' role

"Research is beginning to prove that kids that are growing up in these circumstances are the drug abusers of the future. What are we doing about that? Nothing."

Mrs McCann said there had to be a greater role for social services.

"Why is it only when there are real extreme circumstances and lives are at risk that we are doing anything?

Heroin Heroin addiction is a major problem in Glasgow
"There must be intervention sooner than that that halts that process in its tracks.

"We've said that in some of those cases - 'tough love'. It's about going in and some of the kids are going to have to be taken out of these families."

"If you talk to the police who've maybe done drugs busts, you will go into houses and there will be drugs lying all over the table.

"There are kids running about, babies crawling about and they are being cut, being put into wraps lying about the house.

Drug statistics

Glasgow's social work department was criticised last week after a drug-addicted couple were jailed for neglecting one of their children.

The five-year-old girl lay in a squalid flat for months with her leg in a plaster cast. Social workers were said to have missed the girl's plight.

Iona Colvin Iona Colvin: "Our resources are stretched"
Figures published this week showed that one in 30 adults in Glasgow now has a serious drug problem.

Iona Colvin, the city council's principle officer for addiction services, said more than 1,000 children in Glasgow were believed to be living with parents who have drug problems.

Asked if such children should be automatically taken into care, she stressed that each case had to be judged on its own merit.

Child protection system

"Our resources are fairly stretched but we work as much as we can to encourage drug users into services so we can get involved with them and their families," she added.

"Where we need to take action, we will take action. Where drug using parents are involved in service and there are concerns about the children, then they will be referred to children and families and the child protection system will then come into play."

The area's deprived, it's terrible - no future for any kids about here
Dalmarnock resident
In the Strathclyde Police area, drugs claimed 143 lives last year.

People in Dalmarnock were shocked, but not surprised at the incident involving the three-year-old.

One said: "The area's deprived, it's terrible - no future for any kids about here."

Another pointed out: "People take drugs all over, whether it's Dalmarnock or anywhere. The parents, if they're taking them, should have them well out the road."

And one man said: "There's nothing much in this place for the wee boys. We're trying to get a swing park but there's just not enough money for it."

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See also:
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Five years for cruelty couple
26 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Cash plea in city drugs battle
17 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Experts warn of rise in drugs death toll
25 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Pure lethal: transcript

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