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‘Addiction is vicious’, says youth worker

Kieran believes a proactive approach is required to tackle drug abuse.
Kieran believes a proactive approach is required to tackle drug abuse.

A Dundee charity worker believes policy makers must look at the root of the nation’s drug epidemic.

Kieran Watson, from youth charity Eighteen and Under, feels politicians and health workers must look at the reasons which drive people to drugs before making policy decisions.

For Kieran, tackling the social ills which cause people to engage in drug abuse is as important as tackling drug abuse itself.

He believes working with children and young people who have suffered abuse or are living in poverty is key to winning the war on drugs.

The youth worker explained: “We need to reach down to the root of drug use.

“That would have a bigger impact.

“More resources need to go into working with young people.

“If you improve the lives of young people then you will see fewer drug users further down the line.”

Though he believes there are clear advantages to a preventative approach, Kieran concedes any progress is likely to be slow and gradual.

He said: “There is a good amount of support available for anyone in Dundee needing help with addiction issues. There are a few agencies who work with people.

“But it is going to be a very long term thing.

“So much change has to come from the individual.

“They have to take steps to help themselves.

“Addiction is vicious.”

The Scottish Government say drug use in Scotland is falling and use amongst young people “remains low”.

Councillor Ken Lynn, chairman of the Dundee health and social care integrated joint board, said he believes the time has come to test out a different approach to tackling problem drug use.

He said: “This is a huge issue and a major priority for the IJB, and myself, to tackle this type of problem.

“Safe injecting areas wouldn’t take every case away from stairwells or behind hedges, but it would take a sizeable proportion of activity off the street.”

Renewed debate has been sparked after we published a shocking picture showing a drug user lying prone in a city centre car park.

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