Tuesday, August 03, 2010


A new study has revealed Scotland has some of the worst drug abuse rates in the world, and the situation is getting worse. The international survey by the UN includes results from 200 countries, and shows greater per-head use of heroin, ecstasy and cocaine in this country than almost any other.Figures show that almost 4%of the population is regularly using the class A drug cocaine – the highest rate recorded anywhere. Around 1.5% of Scots adults inject or smoke opiates – almost three times the world average. It is estimated that there are now around 50,000 heroin and 750,000 cocaine users across Scotland.Another international study by the UN published in February this year found there were 656 drug offences per 100,000 people in Scotland. Second-placed Iran recorded 619 per 100,000. The figures, which compared drug-related crime, possession and abuse across more than 70 states, put Scotland’s drug crime rate at more than double that of England and Wales, and six times the worldwide average.

Only five nations – including Afghanistan, where the majority of heroin is cultivated – recorded higher levels of abuse than here. The others were Iran, Costa Rica, Russia and Mauritius. Scotland’s ecstasy problem is a third higher than in England and Wales. The nation also tops the European table for the highest level of drug-related deaths. The British Medical Journal in 2008, estimated that around 32% of excess mortality in Scotland was due to drug abuse, with drug users 12 times more likely to die than those in the general population.

The escapism of drugs has become a feature of so many lives. Whether it’s a joint at home, or ecstasy in a nightclub, many of us use drugs to unwind or enhance our experiences. However, heroin addiction is causing countless damaged lives. There’s often a fine line between using drugs for enjoyment and using drugs to escape the pressures of society. When drugs to numb the pain of the daily rat race become the norm, then society is in serious trouble. The dispossessed youth of the inner cities and sink council housing estates are right to think there is no hope within the present system, but wrong to sit back and wallow in its excesses. Socialists say that society can be better than this.

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