Drink and Drugs News DDN February 2020 - Page 10

LETTERS AND COMMENT HAVE YOUR SAY Write to the editor and get it off your chest claire@cjwellings.com What is County Lines? A network between an urban hub and a county location into which drugs (primarily heroin and crack cocaine) are supplied. Operators of the network exploit young/vulnerable people to store/ supply the drugs, and to move money around. Control of the victims often includes the use of intimidation, violence and weapons. SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS Ian Hamilton is right to point out that the government, media and police are way off the mark... These are distinct heroin and crack cocaine markets The hypocrisy of middle-class cocaine users has undoubtedly been an issue for a long time, as they endlessly virtue-signal about their ethical food and clothes shopping while blithely using a product that leaves an endless trail of human and environmental destruction. However, Ian Hamilton is right to point out that the government, media and police are way off the mark when they accuse this cohort of fuelling county lines violence and gang-related knife crime (DDN, December/January, page 25). These are distinct heroin and crack cocaine markets, and indeed much street level gang violence may not even be related to drug turf wars at all, but rather pointless ‘beefs’ over postcode rivalries or who knows what. As someone who works with young people it has become increasingly disturbing to see the lifestyles into which many of them are drawn – willingly or otherwise – and the often appalling outcomes. There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to this, and properly addressing the situation is going to require comprehensive, long-term, systemic change. However, I very much doubt that, even if the funding were available, there would be the political will to do anything beyond easy, headline-grabbing short-term initiatives. Hamilton is right when he says that these young people have been abandoned at a time when intervention is most needed. I fear things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Paul Taylor, by email SHAMEFUL SYSTEM Karen Biggs is absolutely right when she highlights the shameful and utterly self- defeating process of hauling vulnerable people in front of panels to justify why they need funding for residential rehab (DDN, December/January, page 6). As a professional who’s worked in this sector for years, I still get an attack of nerves every time I’m in a situation like this so I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for someone who’s probably never done anything like that before and isn’t in a particularly good place to begin with. She’s right – it’s not how a national health service worthy of the name should be operating. Name and address supplied DDN welcomes your letters Please email the editor, claire@cjwellings.com, or post them to DDN, CJ Wellings Ltd, Romney House, School Road, Ashford, Kent TN27 0LT. Letters may be edited for space or clarity. /ddnmagazine @ddnmagazine www.drinkanddrugsnews.com ADDACTION BECOMES WE ARE WITH YOU What’s behind the charity’s name change? WE ARE WITH YOU is the new name chosen by Addaction to reflect its ‘inclusive, approachable and reassuring’ ethos. ‘Our research shows that language around addiction can itself be a huge barrier to people seeking help,’ said acting CEO Laura Bunt. ‘As We Are With You, we will use everyday language and focus on the help we offer, not the problem. Our new name also better reflects the ethos and history of our services and how we work with people as equal partners. ‘At a time when millions of people are experiencing issues with drugs, alcohol and mental health and often going without help, we want to make it as easy as possible to take the first step in getting support.’ The charity was started in 1967 when Mollie Craven, whose son was addicted to heroin, had an article published in a 10 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • FEBRUARY 2020 newspaper. She described parents in her situation as a ‘neglected and ignored group’ and called for ‘everyone interested in this agonising problem’ to form an association. ‘We can help each other, we can help with research into the problem and its origin and cure; we can cooperate with the new legislation; in many ways we can help each other’s children where we cannot help our own,’ she wrote. The charity hopes that its new name ‘will help to continue to champion Mollie’s message of working in partnership to overcome problems with drugs, alcohol and mental health’. The new name and a hand-drawn visual identity were created by Scottish-based studio Touch and the accompanying user- friendly website was designed in house – wearewithyou.org.uk will go live on 26 February. WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM