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Christmas Past…

“Well Chris, me and the missus is hoping for a bit of a white Christmas, if you know what I mean?”

Looking back, I still cringe at the thought that I didn’t really understand what Pete (first man I employed in my previous business) meant by a ‘white Christmas’. Until he explained!

It was the mid-1990s and Cocaine was around, but not all that accessible, expensive, not yet an ‘opiate of the masses’.

Pete didn’t get his white Christmas that year. “Nothing around”, he told me on our first day back in January.

Christmas Present…

Is forever a reminder; Pete died at this time of year, some 20 years ago.

Cocaine use is now four times what it was in the 1990s. Today around 1 million people regularly use it ‘recreationally’.

There will be a lot of white Christmas’s this year.

It is now cheap and very accessible, mostly thanks to ‘County line’ drug gangs.

I’m not sure that people completely understand the link between recreational drug use and serious crime in this country.

Everybody should…

Let me introduce you to Barry. He arrived at LandWorks this year.

Barry is in his twenties, a product of the care system and like so many, the target for ‘County lines’ gangs. Vulnerable kids are easy pickings for these ruthless people.

Cocaine is cut down with cheap additives, kids like Barry are then forced to move it around the country, allowing increased access to drugs.

These gangs are merciless. Rarely getting caught, the youngsters are the fall guys.

Barry was held by one gang, tied to a bed for three days, lying in his own excrement, thinking he was going to die as a knife was pushed against his throat.

To warn him off talking in court (he was caught transporting their drugs). They smashed his upper jaw with knuckle dusters and broke his lower jaw as he tried to stand up.

White Christmas’s and recreational drugs have a direct consequence and it’s very close to home.

Christmas Future…

So, what’s to be done?

Well Dame Carol Black’s recent independent HM Gov report on drugs calls for a radical change in the UK’s approach to drug use.

She argues for a renewed collective commitment to tackling drug use; better coordination across Government departments; an emphasis on vulnerable young people; more effective support for people who are often stigmatised, and a spending review and cash injection for depleted services.

I agree.

But perhaps more than anything, love drugs or hate drugs, we all need to start talking about all the consequences of recreational drug supply.


1st December 2022