Thursday, September 25, 2003

Offenders drop out of drug course

Over two-thirds of convicted drug users who took part in the government's flagship treatment programme dropped out, a Home Office study has shown.

And a majority of all of those who took part in the scheme went on to commit further crimes, the research found.

The government is spending £53 million this year on the projects.

They were introduced so that some drug users who commit crimes to pay for their habit are sent for treatment as an alternative to custody.

Drug testing

Only 30% of offenders on the Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) finished them, while 67% had their orders revoked.

Among those who completed the order, just over half were reconvicted within two years, while 91% of those who failed to complete were reconvicted.

The order includes a requirement to attend the course, mandatory drug testing and court progress reviews.

The report says if drug treatment and testing order teams struggle to establish their programmes, and lack resources to deliver rapid and appropriate responses, they could become "expensive precursors to imprisonment".

It said the results of the study into three pilot schemes in Croydon, Gloucestershire and Liverpool were "less encouraging" than expected.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Ex-boxer supplied cannabis

Former world flyweight boxing champion Paul Weir has been found guilty of supplying a form of herbal cannabis.

Weir, 36, from Cumbernauld, was caught by police, along with Gerald Ferguson of Glasgow and Harold Mitchell of Weymss Bay, in the car park of a hotel on the outskirts of the city.

Police had earlier told the trial how they had watched the group of men before moving in to make arrests and of how they found a black bin bag containing the cannabis in Weir's silver Golf car.

Officers from the Scottish Drugs Enforcement Agency seized 5kg of the drug, valued at more than £42,000.

The court heard how Weir became involved in the drug scene to make cash after his business selling boxing gear and health food failed and he was left living on the earnings of his second wife.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Schoolboy arrested over drugs find

Sunderland police are investigating the source of 15 ecstasy tablets which allegedly ended up in the hands of a schoolboy.

The teenager has been arrested and charged with possession of the Class A drug.

The 15-year-old was arrested at the unidentified secondary school on Monday after staff called police.

Sergeant Colin Stephenson of Sunderland West police said they were investigating. He said: "It is worrying that children are getting access to drugs.

"We are obviously investigating to find out where the drugs came from."

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Drugs officers in dawn raids

Twenty-five people were arrested on suspicion of supplying class A drugs after dawn raids across Stoke-on-Trent involving more than 250 officers.

Police moved in shortly after 0530 BST on Tuesday, visiting about 20 addresses across the city.

Six women and 19 men were arrested, 23 of them in Stoke-on-Trent, one in Derby and one in Crewe.

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said "several" of them had been charged and that more charges were expected to follow.

Officers were drafted in from all over Staffordshire, including specialist search and entry teams and sniffer dog handlers.

The spokesman said that five further arrests were made.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Insight into child drug use

More than 30% of preteen children have been exposed to illegal drugs, according to research carried out in Glasgow and Newcastle.

The study, conducted by Glasgow University, also found that nearly 4% of the 2,000 children surveyed had actually experimented with drugs in the past.

In both cities, cannabis was the illegal drug most widely used, but it was estimated that about 60 preteen children in Glasgow had used heroin in the past and 25 in the last month.

The estimate for Newcastle was 34 10 to 12-year-olds had used heroin in the past and 17 in the last month.

Professor Neil McKeganey of the university's centre for drug misuse research said there was a need to develop more wide-ranging education programmes.