Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 00:05 UK

'Sheer devastation' caused by drugs

Recovering addict Kelly Allen on how drugs took control of her life

When she first got into amphetamines, Kelly Allen said she felt she was in control.

"It made me cope a wee bit better with everyday tasks with my child, I had the ironing done, the housework done, the wean's breakfast ready for him before he even got up out of his bed," she said.

"At first I enjoyed it and I thought I was in control, I can take it and leave it, but before you know it you haven't got control, it's got control of you."

She is now recovering but there are an estimated 52,000 problem drug users in Scotland and a further 22,000 on the methadone programme.

Some experts have said these figures could be the tip of the iceberg.

Det Sgt Kenny Simpson, one of the country's longest-serving drugs squad officers, who serves with Strathclyde Police, has made the point that people with drug problems do not become a statistic until they actually seek help, and many do not.

He added: "I think to a degree we are swimming against the tide but we have to remain resilient to becoming negative.

Det Sgt Kenny Simpson says there could be more drug users than the figures suggest

"My colleagues certainly have a positive attitude but it's what's achievable and what's realistic.

"The public in particular must understand the scale of the problem which I think is far greater than people perceive."

"Sheer devastation," is how it is described by Jim McBride, the addictions manager for Glasgow City Council.

"Coupled with deprivation and poverty (that) has meant that we're now seeing third generations of people coming through our services," he said.

"The impact not just on the individual, but on their children, their families and the communities they live in, has really given an understanding of the sheer scale of the problem we face."

Davie Naismith is only too aware of those problems.

A recovering heroin addict, he has found a focus to his life at a Glasgow drugs project.

Without it, he said, he feared boredom from being at home might have got him into using again.

And that sense of purpose is what many drugs workers have said is needed to ensure the ultimate success of any fight against drugs.

Government to announce drug plan
28 May 08 |  Scotland
Scotland facing 'drugs Doomsday'
28 May 08 |  Scotland
Methadone costs 'could be 60m'
25 May 08 |  Scotland

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