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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Death rate of older Dundee addicts twice the national average

June 26 2017

More drug users over the age of 35 die in Dundee than in any other part of Scotland. The Scottish Drugs Forum has warned that drug treatment services must be re-calibrated because of the growing proportion of older drug users. But the situation in Dundee is already nearing crisis point with a death rate for older users twice the national average. There are around 61,500 problem drug users in Scotland. Around half of them are over 35 and many have been using drugs for decades. According to National Records Scotland, the death rate for addicts between the ages of 35 and 44 in Dundee is 0.79 per 1,000 people, higher than anywhere else in Scotland and more than twice the national average. Glasgow has the second highest mortality rate of this age group at 0.61 deaths per 1,000. The Scottish national average is 0.31 deaths per 1,000 people. Dave Barrie, manager of Dundee drugs charity Addaction said older users are more likely to suffer a range of debilitating health and social conditions. He said: “It’s definitely a trend that we have been aware of. There is an ageing population across the board. “The reality is if you’ve been using substances for perhaps 20 or 30 years of your life there will always be quite significant long-term consequences. “So a lot of people may be smokers, may have poor diet, have mental health problems and other social issues like housing problems. “When you put them together with long-term substance abuse the person will be much more fragile and vulnerable.” Mr Barrie added: “The bottom line is when you’re 20 your body in general is much more resilient than when you’re 40, so older users are much more susceptible to infection, overdose, mental health issues and depression. “It is certainly something nationally and locally we should be making a concerted effort to address.” The Scottish Drugs Forum report warned health services are “generally unprepared to meet the care and support needs of this older drug-using population.” Scottish Government public health minister Aileen Campbell said: “I welcome the publication of this report and the insights it provides and we will, working with others, consider the recommendations carefully. “We are committed to ensuring older drug users get the person-centred care they need and this is a current priority for the Partnership for Action on Drugs in Scotland group. “Latest figures show that drug taking among adults is falling, and that levels of drug use among young people remains low. We have invested over £630 million to tackle problem drug and alcohol use since 2008 and have a national drugs strategy to make sure recovery is a reality for individuals, families and communities.” The report also revealed that addicts accounted for 20,700 emergency hospital stays in 2012/13, at a cost of £88.8 million to the taxpayer. More than half of this — £50.8 million — was attributed to users over the age of 35.

Readers' letters

March 29: Time for even most mild-mannered to say that ‘enough is enough’

March 29 2012

Today’s letters to The Courier. Sir, – Isn’t it about time even the most mild-mannered amongst us rose up in anger over a week where the weather was a huge plus but the cost of living and a strike threat did its best to ruin the enjoyment? Petrol and diesel took a steady rise in price for no apparent reason other than greed; tanker drivers just happened to threaten supplies of both to families as the Easter holidays approach (although it appears not enough of them actually voted to strike if you apply simple mathematics). Then, to twist the knife financially, came the news that the prices of postage stamps are going to go through the roof. Everyone involved is, of course, of the ”it wisnae me” persuasion in that they ”are forced into increases” because of economic necessity and all that bilge. It never seems to occur to them, or, rather, they turn a blind eye to the fact, that for the individual, hard-pressed in every direction financially, multiple increases become one huge additional hole in wages, pensions or whatever. We seem to have alleged governing bodies in London and Edinburgh who raise their hands in horror at price increases then seem totally powerless to do anything about them. So, on behalf of a lot of people, they are hereby warned that it won’t take much more to spark genuine unrest, a ”summer of total discontent” if you like, by formerly reasonable people unless action is taken to reduce individual financial pressure now. Ian Wheeler.Springfield, Fife. Posturing rather than actually opposing Sir, – In the recent budget the Con-Dem alliance cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners. The Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls boldly stated: ”…we will vote against the 50p. It’s the wrong tax cut at the wrong time.” Yet, when the SNP and Plaid Cymru introduced an amendment to parliament opposing Tory plans to cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners, the entire contingent of Scottish Labour MPs abstained. It appears that posturing against the SNP is more important than opposing a Tory-Liberal Budget which punishes pensioners and public sector workers and does nothing to stimulate the economy. Kevin Cordell.2 Nevis Place,Broughty Ferry. Decent, honest folk still around Sir, – I’d like to thank the public-spirited person who found my wallet, which I left on a bus the other day, and dropped it into the Broughty Ferry police station without leaving a name. There was quite a lot of cash in it as well as credit cards, and I am grateful for their honesty. Thank you, too, to the police, and to the young woman at the lost and found office in Bell Street, who dealt with things efficiently and empathetically. I have made a contribution to the Police Benevolent Fund in lieu of a reward. It’s good to know there are still honest, decent folk here in our city. Colin Hall.42 Torridon Road,Broughty Ferry. We need to try different tack Sir, – Seventeen drugs-related deaths in Tayside in three months? These are the horrific figures quoted in the report of the latest drugs-related death in Perth (Courier, March 27). Is it not time the relevant authorities realised that the softly-softly approach to drug-taking is not working? The drug habit is spreading rapidly, especially among the young, and there is no sign of its being brought under control. Present methods to control drug-taking are patently not working. Perhaps we should try another tack, including heavier penalties for drug dealers and consigning to drying-out units drug addicts who appear again and again before our courts for drug-related offences? Stricter control of any pubs and clubs where drugs are taken would also help. The fewer opportunities there are for drug-dealing and drug-taking the better. We must try something else, unless we want to see more and more of our young people ending up like the latest victim in Perth. George K McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth. Room to make some savings? Sir – Reference the report about some of the executives at Adam Smith College (March 27), it seems to me that, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the sad affair, the college seems to be functioning perfectly well without four top-level managers. Could there be room for savings there? I wonder. A T Geddie.68 Carleton Avenue,Glenrothes. Butcher or surgeon? Sir, – The correspondence regarding prayer started off by John Millar’s truly unbelievable article on March 23 reminded me of the old adage about whom one would rather choose to perform open heart surgery on one’s nearest and dearest the local butcher who is also an evangelical lay preacher, or the medically qualified hospital surgeon who is also an atheist? Alistair McBay.National Secular Society,5 Atholl Crescent,Edinburgh. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

UK & World

‘Breaking Bad-style’ murderer of police officer Gordon Semple jailed for life

December 12 2016

Stefano Brizzi, 50, has been jailed for life for strangling a police officer during a bondage sex session and then attempting to cook and eat parts of his body. Brizzi admitted he was inspired by his favourite TV series Breaking Bad as he tried to get away with killing 59-year-old PC Gordon Semple by also dissolving his flesh in an acid bath. Last month, the former Morgan Stanley IT developer was found guilty of murder by a majority of 10 to two after a jury at the Old Bailey had deliberated for more than 30 hours. The estate where Semple’s remains were found (Jonathan Brady/PA) Semple was a “caring and gentle person” and “much loved” by his family, who were left devastated with the news of his murder, the court heard. The trial had heard that Brizzi met his victim on gay dating app Grindr and arranged a “hot, dirty, sleazy session” at his flat near London’s Tate Modern gallery on April 1. According to Brizzi, Semple died when a dog leash he had been wearing slipped as they played a “strangulation game”. But a pathologist concluded that while strangulation was a possible cause of death, it would have taken minutes rather than moments, as the defendant had claimed. Stefano Brizzi has been jailed for life (Metropolitan Police/PA) In the days after the killing, Brizzi was caught on CCTV buying buckets, a perforated metal sheet and cleaning products from a DIY store. He then set about dismembering the body, stripping the flesh, burning some in the oven and mixing some with acid in the bath. Semple’s long-term partner, Gary Meeks, reported him missing when he failed to return to their home in Dartford, Kent. Neighbours complained about the stench coming from Brizzi’s flat and eventually called police, who came across the grisly sight of “globules” of flesh floating in the bath, bags containing bones and a part of Semple’s head, and pools of human fat in the oven. Pc Gordon Semple was strangled (Metropolitan Police/PA) Following his arrest, Brizzi admitted killing and trying to dissolve the body of the policeman because “Satan told me to”. Brizzi denied trying to cannibalise parts of Semple by cooking and then biting into a rib found in his kitchen bin. But at his sentencing, the prosecution said an expert odontologist had since confirmed that even though Brizzi claimed not to remember it, he had in fact tried to eat human flesh. Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC handed crystal meth addict Brizzi life in prison with a minimum of 24 years. Brizzi was also sentenced to seven years for obstructing a coroner, which will run concurrently. CCTV footage showing Brizzi purchasing supplies like buckets after Semple’s death (Metropolitan Police/PA) The judge said there were “terrible features” of the case and that Brizzi’s drug addiction had ruined his life. He told Brizzi: “Regret you express now for Mr Semple’s death has to be seen against what you did over a number of days to his body.” The defendant sat in the dock with his head bowed throughout the hearing.


Fears lethal drugs craze will soon spread to Tayside and Fife

April 14 2017

A potentially lethal drug craze which turns users into “zombies” threatens to wreak havoc on the streets of Fife and Tayside, it has been warned. ‘Spice’, a synthetic marijuana which is also known as “fake weed”, is said to be growing in popularity among drug users locally, having risen to prominence in several inner cities south of the border in recent months. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inyPfJ64wb0 The drug’s effects have heaped pressure on emergency services in Manchester in particular, with reports also suggesting that an estimated 80% of the homeless people in Liverpool are addicted to the substance. There are fears Spice’s low cost and addictive nature could soon see it become a staple of the drugs scene north of the border. Superintendent Derek McEwan, from Police Scotland’s Fife division, said it is “only a matter of time” before it becomes more widespread in this area. “Naturally with these things it’s a sort of wave effect – inevitably if it’s down south then it’s only a matter of time before it crosses the border and comes into the country,” he commented. “It is concerning and a lot of these substance misuse issues are concerning because people don’t realise what they are taking and they don’t realise the effects it has on them.” With the prospect of another dangerous drug doing the rounds in Fife, Mr McEwan said more awareness is needed among drug users about the potentially fatal consequences of using several substances together. “A large proportion of people who die drug-related deaths, they are in the 30s, 40s, 50s age bracket, they’ve been taking substances – heroin, or whatever it maybe – for the majority of their adult life, if not all their adult life, but it’s not just the heroin that kills them. It’s the cocktail of drugs they take. “I also do genuinely think there is a belief there out there among people that because a drug has been prescribed to them by a GP it’s then safe. “If you take it in the dosage a GP recommends then I’ve no doubt it is safe, but if you start mixing it with alcohol, if you start mixing it with heroin, if you start mixing it with prescribed medication that’s perhaps not yours….that’s when these things can become a ticking time bomb.” Fife Alcohol and Drugs Partnership said it had been alerted to an increase in harm caused by synthetic cannabis use, and warned that symptoms, such as dizziness, persistent vomiting, chest pains, palpitations and convulsions, “should not be ignored”. Vice-chair Ian Sloan said there was little evidence of a spike in the trade of Spice in Fife as yet, but admitted it was something the group was well aware of. “We must keep our eye on the ball and it’s certainly something Fife’s drugs and alcohol agencies are continuing to keep tabs on,” he added. Dave Barrie, manager of Dundee drugs charity Addaction, said his staff are not aware of any widespread use of the synthetic cannabinoid in Dundee but warned people to stay away from the drug. He said: “It’s not something we’ve seen in Dundee, thankfully. By the looks of the strength of the drug we would be seeing it if it was there. “Most of the news reports about it are about the physical and mental health harm that goes with this powerful ‘legal high’. “Given the concerns about this drug we would encourage people to stay clear of it.” Nik Brown, manager of Dundee Cannabis Club, which promotes the medicinal use of cannabis, also recently warned about the dangers of legal highs. “I know of one person who smoked a synthetic cannabis and he actually ended up in a coma,” he explained. “You have no idea what is in these legal highs and when they are tested they often contain illegal compounds.”   The spread of Spice Spice was invented purely by accident by a chemist in America who had been searching for a new way of developing anti-inflammatory medication. It was declared not fit for human consumption 11 years ago, but soon surfaced on websites when so-called ‘legal highs’ like mephedrone became popular. Like marijuana, the drug – which is also known as Black Mamba or K2 – is smoked in cigarette papers and was a particular problem in prisons, with prisoners filmed passing out after inhaling spice at HMP Northumberland as part of a BBC Panorama documentary. However, its use has spread to cities, with police in Manchester called to 60 Spice-related incidents last weekend. Effects have been described as similar to cannabis, but users have experienced an increased heart rate, panic attacks, hallucinations, agitation, vomiting, seizures and convulsions. Psychotic episodes have also been linked to smoking the substance. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); And this kiddies, is what synthetic Cannabis does to you.Leaked video of a HMP Convict smoking the drug called " Spice/Black Mamba" in their jail cell and film Themselves on a mobile phone!Stay safe and stay away from chemicals. Posted by Dundee Medicinal Cannabis Community on Thursday, 12 January 2017 A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “New psychoactive substances (NPS), commonly known as ‘legal highs,’ are a cause for concern – there are a vast variety of substances available and people who take the substances cannot be certain that what they are taking is what they think it is. “NPS cover a range of products which may be sold via the Internet and other outlets as plant foods, bath salts or room scents but are actually taken to achieve a psychoactive or mood altering effect. “The term ‘legal high’ is misleading and implies a level of safety and legality that is not present with these substances. “Buyers of NPS can never be certain of the actual content of the products or the effect it might have so the advice is clearly not to use these substances. “NPS are also likely to be more harmful when mixed with other substances, including other drugs or alcohol. “If anyone has taken these substances and is unwell, they should seek medical advice immediately.”

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Former senior policewoman warns “courage” needed to prevent return to 80s-style heroin problem in Dundee

May 16 2017

Heroin use in Dundee could reach levels not seen since the epidemic of the 1980s unless city leaders show the courage necessary to tackle the scourge, a former top policewoman has said. Angela Wilson, the former assistant chief constable of Tayside Police, was speaking after The Courier published the shocking image of an unconscious half-naked drug addict lying in the stairwell of Bell Street car park on Saturday afternoon. The bloody syringe used by the addict lay just inches from his body, which had been discovered by one of our reporters who was on a day out with his wife and one-year-old son. The man had pulled down his jeans and underpants in order to inject the drug. © DC ThomsonAngela Wilson during her time at Tayside Police. During her time at the force, Ms Wilson played a key role in reducing the flow of heroin into Dundee. But while police have had success in targeting some of the “Mr Bigs” behind the drugs trade, she believes helping addicts requires a different approach. Ms Wilson said: “As a society we really must look to find long-term solutions to these ‘wicked issues’ that blight people’s lives. “Politicians, police, health services and social services must come together and demonstrate courageous leadership and stop brushing these issues under the carpet – do they want a return to the dreadful heroin problems in Dundee of the 1980s? “There are solutions out there. It just takes courage and integrity to implement them.” “The sad truth is there are now two Dundees” — shameful image shows depth of drug depravity Ms Wilson said safe spaces for addicts to take heroin, such as those planned for Glasgow, could help but added: “Shooting galleries is a totally inappropriate term and evokes negativity and hostility. “It is a safe place to attend to take heroin with medical care available.” Leading drugs charities have also backed the call for their introduction. Andrew Horne, director of Addaction Scotland, said: “We know there’s a core of people who inject drugs in Dundee and it’s challenging to reach them and help them into treatment and recovery. “Research shows that supervised injecting rooms are already well-established across Europe – and the bid for these facilities in the Republic of Ireland made legal progression this month. “We’ve voiced Addaction’s support for such facilities in Glasgow. They have the primary aim of reducing both public consumption, discarded equipment and drug-related deaths, but there are other crucial spin-off objectives. “In particular, people would get access to a range of other services like health check-ups, social work support and access to treatment and recovery. “It’s impossible to help people make changes in their lives if they are not in touch with local services; which is something supervised injection facilities could be the gateway to.” Editorial — Why The Courier chose to publish shocking image of Dundee drug user Mr Horne added: “If an individual is found unconscious, dial 999 no matter what the cause. Health staff can refer people to services like Addaction on discharge from hospital and we will do our utmost to support them.” A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Our latest figures show that drug taking among adults is falling, and that levels of drug use among young people remains low. “We have invested over £630 million to tackle problem drug and alcohol use since 2008 and have a national drugs strategy to make sure recovery is a reality for individuals, families and communities. “We have no plans to introduce drug consumption rooms or heroin assisted treatment on a national basis. “We constantly look at new developments in drugs policy to see how effective they are, and we would encourage an independent evaluation of any such facility.”

Readers' letters

Ridiculous drugs claims by Jenny Hjul

October 8 2013

Sir, I am writing to complain about Ms Hjul’s article (October 2) in which she admits having never read any of Irvine Welsh’s works. So how, then, is it possible for her to know he has been involved in the “glamorisation” of hard drugs? Anyone who has read his works would be well aware of the hard-hitting nature of his fiction. By his own admission Mr Welsh was heavily involved in the drug scene in Edinburgh during a part of the 80s and has real world experience with addicts in their own habitat. This makes her statement that he is “wilfully divorced from the grim reality of drug use” look ridiculous. She calls one of the UK’s most senior officers “naive” with his call to legalise recreational drugs, then pulls one argument out of the air (if drugs are legal then more will be consumed) and ignores the rest of the complicated issues. Instead we are told how the practical, hands-on approach is the way to go. The way we have been trying to deal with drugs since forever and, shock horror, more people are consuming recreational drugs than ever before. Who is being naive? She ignores so many other factors around drug addiction. By keeping these drugs illegal we are making sure that the cost of these drugs is high and the quality is low. With it being difficult to feed a habit long term these addicts have to spend the vast majority of their time focused on obtaining these drugs. This leaves the rest of their lives, including children, tragically, as impediments to this goal. But simply claiming Irvine Welsh has glamorised drugs whilst also admitting that she has never read any of his works is just ridiculous. Andrew Young. 1A Cambridge Street, Alyth. Taxpayers will foot the ‘mop up’ bill as well Sir, Reading of Murdo Fraser’s and Alex Johnstone’s concerns about windfarms, I would like to add the following. The French are now building a nuclear fusion power station which they would not do were they not concerned about future energy supplies and had conducted the most thorough scientific and engineering investigations. (Perhaps our own engineering profession would like to comment?) The French, obviously, are not enamoured of turbines. Who will dismantle all our turbines, whether on or offshore, when they have worn out in 10 years or so? I suspect that the financing companies and their installation brethren will have long since disappeared. That’s right, the poor old taxpayer will have to foot the bill again. Fife Council, and others, please note. A T Geddie. 68 Carleton Avenue, Glenrothes. Impractical and expensive Sir, Following on from the correspondence regarding the reopening of the rail link from Edinburgh to Perth via Kinross and Glenfarg I would like to make a few points. The present rail journey via the Fife coastal route is around 65 miles and takes one hour and 15 minutes or so. A rail link via Glenfarg and Kinross would be 47 miles giving a likely time of 55 minutes for the same journey but due to the track a more realistic time would be one hour, a saving of 15 minutes and not the 30 minutes put forward by Transform Scotland. Re-instating the nine miles of the old line from Cowdenbeath to Kinross is relatively straightforward, it is flat and there is little in the way of buildings. The problem starts when the line approaches Kinross, the Old Cleish Road underpass has been built on and the section onwards has been significantly altered by housing and Sainsbury’s supermarket. Some buildings would have to be demolished and a level crossing constructed over the road off the motorway to Kinross, this would not be feasible. A new track bed through Glenfarg would be necessary to replace that lost to the M90 construction. Once through the Glenfarg tunnels which are still there and in good condition, an underpass would have to be made under the M90. The junction at Bridge of Earn has also been built upon which would create additional problems. As much as I would like the line to be resurrected it would be too disruptive, impractical and expensive. David W Fenwick. 4/1 The (Old) Granary, West Mill Street, Perth. A most helpful traffic warden Sir, Through your columns I hope you will allow me to thank a most helpful traffic warden (often an oxymoron) who assisted us to find and park at the McManus Galleries when we visited Dundee recently. We were finding it difficult to locate the gallery (poorly signposted) and asked a lady traffic warden for directions. Not only did she direct us, she walked the few hundred yards we were away and found us a parking space! My wife is disabled so this was a real benefit. Well done the lady traffic warden! The McManus is a top municipal gallery and we will visit again. We also look forward to the V&A opening. W A Proudfoot. 72 Farm Fields, Sanderstead,


Naloxone kits will save lives claims drugs charity

April 21 2018

A Dundee drugs charity says addicts' lives will be saved after NHS Tayside gave it special dispensation to distribute Naloxone kits to users. Addaction, which has four offices across Dundee, began distributing Naloxone kits this week in a bid to curb the soaring number of drugs deaths in the city. Naloxone is used to counter the effects of opiates such as heroin or methadone when someone overdoses. Dundee has one of the highest drug death rates in Scotland. The most recent statistics available are for 2016 and show there were more than three drug-related deaths a month across the city that year. Dave Barrie, service manager for Addaction, said addicts mixing heroin or methadone with fake Valium pills could be behind the rising number of drug deaths in Dundee. He said he believes greater distribution of Naloxone kits will save lives. He said: "Naloxone has been around for years. There was a national rollout in Scotland and Dundee is one of the places that have given out most Naloxone. "These have been given out by the NHS but this week we were given permission to give out Naloxone kits. "There is evidence from around the world that NBaloxone successfully reduces drug deaths. The more Naloxone we have out there in high risk groups the fewer drug deaths there will be. "We are in four different locations around Dundee so are very much in the communities that have high levels of substance misuse and we also don't have appointments so people can just drop. "It will also helped as there is a little bit of fear from some people around the statutory services like the NHS. Being a charity can make it a bit easier for people to access services so we're really excited." Mr Barrie said drug cocktails are particularly dangerous but use of Naloxone, which only negates the effects of opiates, is usually enough to prevent overdoses from becoming fatal. He said: "If you start using two, three or four different substances the risk is much higher." As well as drugs like etizolam, known at "street valium", Mr Barrie said addicts are also mixing prescription painkillers like pregabalin and gabapentin with heroin or methadone. "What we're finding is people in Dundee are taking gabapentin, pregablin and fake Valium. "These three drugs are highly toxic and extremely dangerous when taken together. "Naloxone will only reverse the effects of opiates but this is often enough to reverse the effect of overdose." Mr Barrie added: "It's all about reducing this upward trend in drug deaths. "We are really convinced getting more Naloxone in the community will be a big part in turning things around." A total fo 38 people suffered drug-related deaths in Dundee in 2016 and a new drugs commission has been set up as part of a drive to tackle the city's longstanding problem. The Drugs Misuse Commission is now asking for input from organisations working to reduce the impact of drug abuse in Dundee. It is seeking to find out what barriers the city faces in tackling drug addiction, what has been successful in helping addicts kick their habits and what other aspects of drug use the commission should be investigating.