A leading anti-drugs campaigner has warned recovery services in the city are not prepared to respond to the city’s “crack epidemic.”
Sharon Brand, a former heroin user who beat her addiction and founded Recovery Dundee to help others, said crack has been a growing problem in Dundee.
A report to go before councillors on Monday from Police Scotland chief superintendent Andrew Todd warns violent criminals are now pushing the drug on Tayside.
He warned some thugs are using violence and intimidation to take over people’s homes in order to use them as safe houses, so-called “cuckooing”.
Ms Brand said: “Two years ago I warned the drugs services about this.
“All the drug services in Dundee are set up to treat people with opiate addictions, not crack.
“The whole focus of the Dundee Drugs Commission and the report was on opiate treatment and there is no provision to support people with crack.”
Ms Brand said Recovery Dundee has already been working with people who have been using crack, a highly addictive form of cocaine that is usually smoked.
“I have already supported someone coming off crack in just the past couple of weeks.
“It is everywhere in the in the drugs community. Every person I used drugs with is using crack.
“It is young people who start off using cocaine and it escalates from there.”
Ms Brand said she has seen “cuckooing,” first hand.
“I know about two guys from Birmingham that came to Dundee and basically took over someone’s flat until we got together and got them removed.
“The police have been brilliant but we have got a few people who have been targeted. This happens all the time.
“Crack is an epidemic just now. Dealers are making a fortune off it.”
Ms Brand said the behaviour of people on crack, and the damage is causes, is different to those using heroin.
She warned many hard drug users will start using crack and then using substances like street valium to manage their come downs.
Kevin Cordell, convener of Dundee City Council’s community safety and public protection committee, said: “I think the old adage that no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors is particularly apt regarding cuckooing and this report will come as a shock to many folk.
“The fact that this activity could be going on right under their nose will be alarming.
“I think it is also important that we know what Dundee City Council is doing to ensure that – as the city’s largest housing provider – that neither our tenants nor our properties are being exploited.”