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READERS’ LETTERS: Old fashioned remedies for drugs scourge

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Madam, – According to published statistics, drug-related deaths in Scotland are three times that of the rest of the UK, and the worst within the 27 countries of the EU.

While I do agree with the opinion that we should identify those in need of help and provide all assistance to them to kick the destructive habit before it kills them, I absolutely disagree with some of the recent opinion that the solution to the problem is to legalise drug use and drug sales and to create official centres where drugs can be ingested safely and in a social environment, in effect the creation of “Drug Pubs”.

I cannot think of anything more dangerous and damaging to society than the adoption of such recommendations that will send the clear message that the recreational use of narcotics is acceptable and harmless.

How daft have we become in Scotland?

The solution to this corrosive problem is for Holyrood to properly fund police investigative activity to find and prosecute the sellers of such misery to our kids.

Where these drugs come from would be a good place to start.

If they are manufactured in the UK then find, prosecute and shut down the manufacturers.

If they are being imported through our ports and airports, a greater effort is required at customs.

I suspect that our present lax attitudes, including the free movement of people, contribute to the growth of the drugs culture and its trendy image in society.

So long as taxpayers are required to foot the bill for treatment of self-inflicted harm, these same taxpayers have every right to require Holyrood to be doing something positive about the situation instead of the hand-wringing and lesson-learning that we constantly see from our politicians these days.

Time for some non-trendy old-fashioned remedies to be applied to remove this blight on the lives of so many people.

Derek Farmer.

Knightsward Farm,



Care burden is a total disgrace

Madam, – Your correspondent Graham Haddow asked the question: “is this a fair system of care for the elderly?” when his father-in-law, 90 years old and with multiple serious health issues, was discharged from hospital and forced to sell his home in order to fund costs for care home fees (How can this healthcare system be fair, Courier, July 13).

At £1,150 per week – or nearly £60,000 per annum – and as a man of modest means this could bankrupt him and rob his family of their rightful inheritance.

The legislation for this cruel act of social injustice and disregard for humanity and compassion has no equal.

Namely the Care in the Community Act 1993, it was introduced by a Conservative Government and supported by the Labour Party.

The act deemed that when a person became old and ill and they owned property this had to be sold or could be sequestrated to pay for care home fees.

It divorced the government from its financial responsibilities for care of the elderly while opening up the market for care home providers – some of whom are now millionaires – to exploit the most vulnerable sectors in our community.

But there is worse.

NHS Continuing Health Care covers 100% of care costs for people who need full-time care primarily for health reasons.

Many families are not being told this and are being denied access to this funding. The result is many homes are being sold unnecessarily.

When a person is discharged from hospital into full-time care, the local authority should only means test if the NHS Continuing Health Care assessment process has been properly carried out and it has been shown they do not qualify, otherwise the NHS pays.

David Balfour.

135 Strathearn Road,



Roadside signs of the times

Madam, – In response to the letter from RWH Hudson (Peril for drivers on the A90, Courier, July 17).

I would like to point out that the flag-bearers are not from one particular party as stated but rather from a group of people who would like to see their country gain its independence.

The desire for independence is not limited to members of a specific political party but includes others from across the political spectrum including those who are of no particular party.

While it is, of course, commendable to espouse concern for road safety, I suspect there is a hidden agenda.

Perhaps the police should also ban road signs, overhead gantries and roadside adverts in order to eliminate potential distractions.

Or perhaps they are of the opinion that drivers should be more than capable of dealing with these.

It should also be noted that the police are generally informed before the events.

Margaret S Pollock.

45 Lord Lyell Drive,



Mars is the next frontier for man

Madam, – I feel a strong sense of disappointment that so little has been achieved in manned space flight in the 50 years since Armstrong and Aldrin first stepped on the moon.

Skylab, then the Shuttle and now the International Space Station all involve only low earth orbits, so there is little to show for half a century of progress.

Almost 30 years ago aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin showed that, using derivatives of then current shuttle technology, a crewed mission to land on Mars was not just possible but also affordable for the USA.

He subsequently published the Case for Mars setting out for a layman, how it could be done.

The recent film the Martian gives a realistic idea of the lander and Mars habitat modules for such a mission, although its portrayal of the spacecraft for transit is exaggerated.

Thanks to private enterprise launch costs have plummeted over recent years.

SpaceX now quotes a price of only $90 million for 13 tons to Mars.

Putting people on Mars is no longer prohibitively expensive and is well within current technical capability.

If the West led by the USA does not dare to dream and to do, I have no doubt that others, China most likely, soon will.

Otto Inglis.

6 Inveralmond Grove,