Page last updated at 00:51 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Moral drugs message for students

SCDEA poster
The posters will appear in student union bars across Scotland

A campaign highlighting the ethical impact of cocaine abuse is being targeted at university students.

The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) said cocaine production in Columbia caused social and environmental devastation.

For every two grams of cocaine consumed in Scotland, about eight square meters of Colombian jungle are cut down.

Thought-provoking posters and beer mats raising the issue have been distributed to student union bars across Scotland.

SCDEA said it hoped the ethical message would help to change attitudes and reduce demand for cocaine in Scotland.

The campaign aims to highlight the impact of cocaine production on Colombia's people, communities, nature and wildlife - through ongoing violence, kidnap, corruption, deforestation and pollution.

Cocaine consumption ignites a vicious international cycle of environmental, social and individual destruction of which everyone should be aware
Francisco Santos Calderon
Colombian Vice President
Det Chf Insp Alan Cunningham said: "Through this campaign, we hope to encourage people to think twice about using cocaine by highlighting the devastating impact caused by the production and supply of these illegal substances.

"Serious organised crime groups are involved in this activity and we want people to think about the wider consequences, not just the damage to their individual health, but also the impact on their communities and others elsewhere.

"We are urging people to examine their own conscience and ask themselves if they really want to contribute to violence, murder, corruption and environmental damage by continuing to use cocaine."

Colombian Vice President, Francisco Santos Calderon, said: "Our personal choices matter, to us and to the world. Cocaine consumption ignites a vicious international cycle of environmental, social and individual destruction of which everyone should be aware.

"This SCDEA campaign contributes significantly to generating awareness among Scotland's youth and to Colombia's well-being."

'Forcibly removed'

Andrew Dailly, 29, a primary school teacher from Crookston, Glasgow, lived and worked in Colombia for two years and is very aware of the impact on communities.

He said: "I was surprised by the number of people living on the streets. These are people - sometimes whole families - who have been forcibly removed from their homes in the country to make way for growing areas for coca plants.

"People need to be aware of the wider impact of their drug consumption and I hope people in Scotland engage with this campaign and think twice about using cocaine."

The campaign is being launched at Strathclyde University.

Liam Burns, NUS Scotland depute president, said: "It is clear that cocaine use impacts on more than just the user.

"The environmental repercussions are just as devastating on a global level as the health repercussions are on a personal one.

"Students' associations are committed to helping spread this important message."

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