organisations from local businesses and media outlets to residents'
groups and schools to play their part in the fight against drugs.
Speaking at a seminar on neighbourhood drug markets, Mr McCartney
said drug misuse often devastated not just individuals but entire
swathes of local communities.
He issued the appeal to community organisations not to 'turn a blind
eye', but play what part they could in fighting drug misuse.
Mr McCartney highlighted several examples where partnership with
businesses, health bodies and community organisations was paying big
dividends. They included:
- South Gloucestershire Drug Action Team: In partnership with Rolls
Royce, a corporate membership scheme helps companies combat drug
misuse in the work place through drug awareness training and
encouraging support for education and treatment initiatives in the
- Scotland Against Drugs: Tom Farmer chairs SAD, which plays a
leading role in attracting business support for anti-drugs
initiatives, raising£4m backing to date. Successes include
2,300 teachers in Scotland receiving drugs' training, 700,000
parent's booklets circulated through a national newspaper and more
than 550 companies introducing drug misuse policies in the workplace.
- Hertfordshire DAT: Joint working has produced a drug awareness in
the workplace training pack, and various initiatives to raise
awareness and tackle drugs through the media.
Ian McCartney said:
'There is no doubt that drug misuse is a complex and serious problem.
It is not only a threat to health, but also a threat to families, and
to communities because of the crime and anti-social behaviour it
fuels. It destabilises the foundations that our society is built on
and generates widespread misery and despair.
'We all know that there is no single, simple solution to the drugs
problem and the effects it has on our communities. That is why our
drugs strategy seeks to address this modern menace from all sides.
This includes choking the supply of drugs to local markets, catching
and punishing drug barons and smashing their enterprises through
improved asset seizure and breaking the link between drugs and crime
by referring drug-misusing offenders for appropriate help.
'We need to not just treat and tackle individuals, but communities
'We are all aware that once an area gets a reputation for drug
dealing, its desirability plummets, residents try to leave and the
demand for housing falls still further. Ultimately, drug markets can
feed on a cycle of decline and community abandonment as it becomes
increasingly difficult for the neighbourhood to attract inward
investment and sustain a legitimate economy.'
1. The government recently launched its 2nd Annual Report on the
progress of the government's 10-year anti-drugs strategy. It showed
progress during 1999-2000 in several key areas, including:
* Education: 93% of secondary and 75% of primary schools now have a
drugs education policy - up from 86% of secondary and 61% of primary
* Seizure:£1.2bn was committed last year to prevent Class A drugs
like heroin and cocaine from reaching our streets - an increase of
33.5% on the previous year; and an increase by over 9% on the number
of Class A trafficking groups disrupted - nearly double the target.
2. The Ten Year strategy contains four key aims each of which has a
key performance target:
* Young People: to help young people resist drug misuse in order to
achieve their full potential in society.
Key performance target: to reduce the proportion of young people
under the age of 25 reporting use of illegal drugs in the last month
and previous year substantially and to reduce the proportion using
the drugs which cause the greatest harm - heroin and cocaine - by 25%
by 2005 and by 50% by 2008.
* Communities: to protect our communities from drug-related
anti-social and criminal behaviour.
Key performance target: reduce levels of repeat offending amongst
drug misusing offenders by 25% by 2005 and by 50% by 2008.
* Treatment: to enable people with drug problems to overcome them and
live healthy and crime-free lives.
Key performance target: to increase participation of problem drug
misusers, including prisoners, in drug treatment programmes which
have a positive impact on health and crime by 66% by 2005 and by 100%
* Availability: to stifle the availability of illegal drugs on our
Key performance target: to reduce access to all drugs amongst young
people (under 25) significantly and to reduce access to the drugs
which cause the greatest harm, particularly heroin and cocaine, by
25% by 2005 and by 50% by 2008.
3. The recent Spending Review for the three years 2001/2 to 2003/4
provided additional funds to drive forward the Strategy: expenditure
will increase from some£700m in 2000/2001 to£870m in 2001/2,£931m
in 2002/3 and£996m in 2003/4. This represents a major new investment
in resources to underpin delivery of the government's challenging ten
year targets for tackling drug misuse.