Scotland should fight drug abuse, not appease it – Letters

A Scotsman reader reckons drug consumption rooms are a bad idea

Ian Georgeson 07921 567360 !!!!!Caption Must say posed by model!!!!! Drugs , Teenager , Needle , syringe , heroin , child , teen , drug , injecting , inject , drug abuse , A young male with a needle.Picture posed by model

So, a majority of illegal drug users would be willing to use a state drug consumption facility that offers assistance, immunity and comfort while they commit their crime. That’s hardly surprising. I guess that burglars would avail themselves of a state chauffeur service that delivered and collected them from their victims’ homes – with full anonymity and immunity, of course. Such a scheme would reduce the risks associated with dangerous getaway driving, the logic would run.

As usual in Scottish politics, empathy with the immediate predicament of the individual overwhelms rationality. The fact that an addict desperately wants a fix doesn’t mean that the best way to help them is to facilitate it. Whether drug addiction has stemmed from the toughest personal circumstances or from reckless hedonism, the way forward is abstinence.

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The very suggestion that a place where harmful drugs are taken can somehow render them “safe” is dangerous. When users wander befuddled from a “drug consumption room” do they still cause alarm to others? Do they still cause accidents and violence? Do they still sustain the whole evil system of drug supply? Do their lives still spiral down into meaningless oblivion? Do they still impose unnecessarily on the goodwill of the nation? Yes.

Our society has decided, with good reason, that it is unwilling to sacrifice the safety of its citizens and its financial resources in order to indulge selfish drug abuse.

However, the state should welcome addicts seeking to kick the habit with open arms, offering intensive support.

Meanwhile, maintaining in our society a culture of hostility to illegal drug abuse helps to reduce the number of people who become addicts. A part of that is vigorous policing, both to deter potential users and to eliminate supply chains.

Drug abuse is a grave threat to the wellbeing of any society, ever primed to claim victims on a vast scale, so let’s fight it not appease it.

Richard Lucas

Leader of The Scottish Family Party, Bath Street, Glasgow

...and statistics

Could it be that the 72 per cent reduction in urgent suspected cancer referrals that Scotland’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith drew attention to earlier this week (your report, 20 April) has something to do with Nicola Sturgeon’s “pausing” of cancer screenings three weeks earlier (your report, 30 March)?

Is there more “collateral damage” arising from the multitude of rushed measures that have been introduced in recent weeks? Do we need to see daily statistics on unusual increases in heart disease, domestic violence, suicides, mental illness, alcohol abuse, lost hours of schooling (especially for vulnerable children) before we realise that it is not wise, and indeed, it is unbecoming for a democratic and caring society to redirect resources dealing with societal issues by panicked fiat.

Harald Tobermann

Pilrig Street, Edinburgh

A little help?

On 7 April Deputy First Minister John Swinney kindly sent a letter to those suffering from COPD offering free weekly grocery packs. These could be accessed by texting from a mobile phone, inserting a magic CHI number.

I attempted to do this for my wife, but alas I don’t have the necessary digital dexterity, and being hard of hearing and of slow mind, I could not cope with the quick operator’s instructions (I am 88).

I asked for help from our neighbour, who is a young technologist in his seventies. He could not cope either, so passed it on to my wife’s daughter in Newcastle.

She phoned our local Tesco with the above information. They were most helpful, she was able to order online, and we expect a delivery in the next few days.

Has this rigmarole been the fate of others? Why could not a simple letter or email suffice? Time for the department concerned to sort its bureaucracy out perhaps? I hope this will be a help to other victims with the same problem.

Eric White

Baberton Avenue, Juniper Green, Edinburgh

Better apart

Victor Clements (Letters, 18 April) says that in the current situation, debating the arguments for and against independence is “pathetic”. He then spends the next few paragraphs extolling the virtues of the Union.

He believes the strategy for dealing with the pandemic is “being fought at UK level “ with input from the devolved government. However, it’s hard to retain confidence in the overall strategy when we consider the time wasted in the first two months of the crisis, leading to a situation where there have been in excess of 16,000 deaths and the UK could end up being the worst afflicted country in Europe.

We have a major problem in the UK management of the pandemic as we have a Prime Minister who likes his weekends off and missed five COBRA meetings in the run-up to the current crisis. A man who put bravado before sense and put his own life at danger, leaving to deputise, a cabinet which is long on acquiescence, compliance and blind loyalty, but short on competence and experience. Thus we have seen Dominic Raab, looking bewildered and out of his depth. We’ve seen Matt Hancock lose his rag with BBC journalist Nick Robinson. Priti Patel has produced figures on testing which would have baffled Stephen Hawking. And Robert Jenrick, a minister who should have been sacked for flouting social distancing rules. All appeared in a procession of ministers lacking presence (with the possible exception of Rishi Sunak) who have trooped forward for their moment of fame like a line of Pierrots in a grim end-of-the-pier show.

In this febrile context, Scotsman columnist Susan Dalgety says Nicola Sturgeon “suggested” that Scotland was being denied PPE equipment in order to foster “grievance” (Perspective, 18 April). This is wrong – the FM was reacting to concerns brought to her by the CEO of Scottish Care, Donald Macaskill, and questions put to her by journalists which she undertook to follow up.

Gill Turner

Derby Street, Edinburgh

Austerity legacy

According to estimates by leading think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, UK government borrowing this year is likely to rise from £55 billion to around £300bn as a result of the pandemic.

To put that another way, the government is likely to borrow around £4,500 for every man, woman and child in the UK this year. That is on top of the accumulated government borrowing of around £30,000 for every one of us. These debts will need to be paid for through tax rises, spending cuts and inflation; that unavoidable austerity is a truly horrifying thought.

Otto Inglis

Ansonhill, Crossgates, Fife

Caring contest?

Robert Scott (Letters, 22 April) fails to appreciate that England couldn’t cope with the global coronavirus crisis without getting essential PPE from Turkey or fruit pickers from Romania. Whether it’s on testing, PPE provision or the number of fatalities, Scotland’s NHS is performing much better than in England. Scottish taxpayers will be paying their share for the UK Treasury bail out and an independent Scotland would have the ability to recover just like Denmark, Ireland, Norway or any other normal country.

When the price of oil crashed in 2015, Scotland’s economy did not enter into a recession as our onshore economy grew by 1.6 per cent, partly due to falling oil prices. Also, since then the cost of extracting North Sea oil has fallen to $15 a barrel. Contrast that with the collapse of the financial markets in 2008, upon which the UK economy was twice as dependent as Scotland was on oil. This led to a recession and ten years of Westminster imposed austerity.

Since oil and gas was discovered in the North Sea, Norway has generated £386bn more than the UK government in tax revenues. With similar levels of extraction, that is no union dividend for Scotland with ninety per cent of the UK output.

Mary Thomas

Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

Thanks be to rUK

Robert Scott is right to highlight the fact that without UK Government support Scotland could not survive the economic effects of the coronovirus pandemic.

It’s not just the billions of pounds in support that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has furnished to support the Scottish economy now. It is the support that will be needed at the end of the lockdown to prevent the Scottish economy crashing in what is the worst economic crisis since the Second World War.

As Caroline Elsom of the Centre for Policy Studies has written, “the line between survival and disaster will rest on the bond markets’ trust in the British Government and on the reputation of the Bank of England”. Just as the Bank of England prevented the Royal Bank of Scotland disintegrating during the financial crash, so the Treasury and the Bank are all that stands between a solvent Scotland and a poverty-stricken land.

William Loneskie

Justice Park, Oxton, Lauder

E-scooter scandal

Last month the Department for Transport (DfT) began consulting on plans to trial electric scooters being allowed on the roads (your report, 21 April). The DfT are proposing to treat them like bikes and riding on pavements would be illegal but at present numerous uninsured cyclists use the pavement and injure pedestrians; since there is no identification they are seldom caught. E-scooters would make a faster getaway.

Recently there was an E-scooter on the road (illegally) in Linlithgow and I was astonished by the recklessness and speed of the rider, who was passing cars on the inside.

If the DfT are determined to allow E-scooters on the roads why are there no plans to make the E-scooter owners take a test, have insurance, a helmet and identification plates and pay towards the cost of the roads?

E-scooters on the roads are a recipe for deaths and injuries.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road, Linlithgow

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