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Drugs in Shetland

da ness tattie man

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I am not going to prentend its ok to depend on drugs to function its simply not.

Why not?


There are loads of conditions which require the sufferer to depend on drugs to function.



very good point, I remember having a chat with my doctor once about this topic, my partner was worried about the drugs I had been prescribed as they have addictive qualities, it was pointed out to me there is a world of difference between depedance and addiction.

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Precisely put , pursuit of oblivion. When I were a lad in Shetland there was no sniffer dogs & from my experience teenage rebels were quite happy to smoke some waccy-tobaccy on a Saturday night. From people that I keep in contact with tell me , nowadays it is easier to buy heroin than a relatively harmless drug which has never had one overdose to its name ! I think even the teenage rebels of my day would have run a mile at the idea of doing heroin. It appears in recent years that it has become easier for young people to access heroin, rather than softer drugs. Shetland should be asking why this is ? Could it be that it's down to simple economics. That because the risk of bringing a bulkier product which will produce a far smaller profit is so high that criminals who rely on this unrestricted market will turn to a product that is far easier to conceal & provide a larger profit. It seems quite logical to me, criminals selling substances on the black market have no morals at all, profit is the only thing that motivates them. No matter how many lives are affected.

I was told once by a reliable source that although the dog was usefull in searching people coming off the plane, or locating drugs in a dealers house that really 98% of all drug charges made in Shetland was down to public information recieved. So is the dog economically viable ? Would the money not be better spent on helping somebody recover from an addiction problem ( drugs including alcohol ).

The only answer to this is for the Government to take control of the market.

The heroin explosion as you put it came shortly after the introduction of the needle exchange and methadone program. Allowing users to negotiate the intermittent supply chain, and avoid going cold turkey. the dogs came later as a response to the numbers using the programs mentioned above.

Where did you get that information from bob ? As far as I'm aware there has always been methadone available for prescription in Shetland, the only difference now is I beleive you have to access it through your local DSP. So I think that the provision of a local DSP would be as a result of a rise in heroin addiction rather than it being the other way around. Unless they saw it coming. Probably did after getting a sniffer dog come to think of it...

I think most sane people had their doubts that it may have been a knee-jerk reaction but in a community the size of Shetland didn't want to stick their own heads above the parapet for fear of guilt by association. As somebody has already mentioned. A noble idea but maybe not the best thought out. For every 1 parcel the dog intersepts, or sniffs, several will get through. Or if it comes to it somebody claiming to be in debt to Mr.Big will feed it a juicy cynide-steak someday if it's ruining his profits. These black market criminals are just that criminals feeding of other people's vulnerabilities. No matter how much money is/has been thrown at it prohabition has not worked. The illeagal drug trade is one of the biggest economies in the world, one that doesn't pay a penny in tax to anyone. Apart from the odd bribe here & there. Nothing will change until the Government approaches the situation from another angle. Take control of it or provide 100% prohabition. Which I think most people would agree is unobtainable.

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I am not going to prentend its ok to depend on drugs to function its simply not.

Why not?


There are loads of conditions which require the sufferer to depend on drugs to function.



very good point, I remember having a chat with my doctor once about this topic, my partner was worried about the drugs I had been prescribed as they have addictive qualities, it was pointed out to me there is a world of difference between depedance and addiction.


If I stopped injecting drugs, I would eventually cease to function altogether.

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What put me totally off the idea of ever trying any of the harder drugs was a short film the Police came down and showed at our Youth Fellowship when I was about 12 or 13. {Twartree years ago noo...}


There was a scene shot in a squalid smoky room with 'stoned' people lying on stained mattresses, and you saw a guy injecting into his shin close up. Drops of blood came out, and he stonedly rubbed his shin where he had injected, smearing the blood all over his leg before he sank back, out of his face.


That scene had such a marked effect on me, I only ever used cannabis. Maybe they should unearth that old reel-to-reel and show it in schools?!



RE the Dogs issue- someone predicted to me a few years back that because of the shortage of cannabis due to the sniffer dogs and the fact that his regular suppliers couldn't get hold of any to sell so were offering stuff like heroin & coke instead, that we would see a Big 'drugs' problem up here as time went on.


Interesting how Orkney doesn't have such a big heroin problem - and they have more transport options available to & from their island...

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Heroin is the preferred drug in prisons.


I is out of your system by about 3 - 4 days, very small and hard to detect.


Cannabis can be detected weeks after use.


The best way to monitor drug use would be with hair, it can tell a huge amount.


Based on what please SP? Cannabis is not the only drug that can be detected weeks after use; however, that depends on how much Vit C and other vitamins you whack down ya gob - think it is something like B6 or 12 that also depletes it.


Hair testing is useless - all you have to do is spend a couple of hours on the Circle Line during a visit to London and you'd test positive afterwards!

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Prisons use a urine test, same as clinics. Seen it done. High doses of vits not on the menu on prison food, unless you go to the CLINK.

Only on compulsory tests the sample is scrutinised.

Canabis is not normally tested on drug free wings with voluntary testing.


But, similar to the ease of cannabis detection with dogs


The test will provide an incentive to switch to the use of harder drugs.


MDT of 5 - 10 % per month can lead to

MDT will concentrate attention on ‘non-problem’ use of cannabis where the resources would

have been better used in helping to control heroin use.


But more worrying


Outside agencies may, in some cases, refuse to accept referrals from MDT because prisoners

will not necessarily be voluntarily asking for help but will be forced into programmes because

of positive test results.





The MDT has not deterred opiate abuse, 32% or so tested +ve in 2005.


Hair is interesting, and I was not suggesting it be used in a similar fashion, but the Circle line bit, if it is running, the Mayor seems to be havin problems there lol.


A gram of opites can be hidden in many places on the body, moulded with wax to the back of the ear, in the mouth, "bottled" and even under the foreskin. A gram of bush cannabis, the preferred choice is a little harder to hide. Punishments are similar. A couple of weeks on bisic can be overcome. It does hit home if you were an enhanced prisoner, a blue band or red band.

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Interesting how Orkney doesn't have such a big heroin problem - and they have more transport options available to & from their island...


From what im lead to believe orkney dont use any drugs dogs the same as shetland does. They dont have any police dogs not charity dogs.


So the reason they dont have a MASSIVE drugs s scene is that its simply not being detected as well as Shetland.


Shetland may seem to have a massive drugs problem, but its down to the high profile detections. If we didnt have the dogs and no one got cought then we would be the same as orkney.


I would welcome another dog. I often see the black lab doon at the boat or along the street and i think they do a grand job.

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^^ I don't believe a word of it. By the Police's own admission the vast majority of the folk they have busted, would have been busted anyway, dogs or no. How many busts have been described by the Police as being as a result of "information received", or as a result of an "intelligence operation". In other words, someone grassed, or someone had the pressure put on them to squeal, and did (the Hillhead Hilton was making good use of that one 15 or so years ago, and have no reason not to be doing so now), or someone was set up to take a fall, etc, etc.... How many convictions have been secured that the dog(s) have taken credit for being the lynch pin in the conviction? ....... I can count them on the fingers of one hand, and not need to use them all, or the thumb.


You can only conclude one of two things from the above, either: (a) The Police are regularly not being fully truthful in the statements they give relating to "drug" convictions. Or: (B) The dogs only make a nominal difference to conviction rates.


As for the argument that Shetland and Orcadian "drug" usage is similar, and that Shetland has a high detection rate, while Orkney has a low one. Lets have some numbers to back this up please.


The nature of the activity, being that it is "illegal", results in secrecy, so absolutely no-one can possibly know the exact amounts of substances imported in to either Orkney or Shetland, so there is no way of calculating what percentage of the total import to each isle is taken out of teh system by the Police.


The only reasonably indicative numbers available that might compare usage levels between Orkney and Shetland is how many registered addicts each isle has, and how many in each isle are on methadone programs etc, and how many overdose and associated deaths have been in each isle over the last decade or so. So lets be having them.


Otherwise any assertion that a far lower percentage of the total "drugs" import to Orkney is detected and taken out of the loop than is done in Shetland, is just so much hot air, as it is based on no verifiable data whatsoever.

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I am new to this forum but joined as it seems the only safe place to discuss drugs in Shetland without being stigmatised for your views.


Many people I talk to are concerned about the effectiveness of dogs against drugs but are frightened to raise this in public in case they are seen as being in favour of drugs. I am in this category.


Now Shetland is getting more dogs. http://www.shetnews.co.uk/component/content/article/36-latest-new/360-second-dog-to-join-anti-drugs-charity.html


A lot of people think there is a very strong correlation between the initial introduction of the dogs and the rapid acceleration in the heroin problem in Shetland that followed shortly afterwards.


Orkney didn't introduce sniffer dogs and have nothing like the problems we have experienced. It is claimed that the dogs could easily smell strong odours from cannabis and because of its bulk it was the main drug that reduced when the dogs were first introduced. This left a vacuum for dealers to fill with more easily secreted heroin and the rest is history.


I understand it is still the case now and Shetland is a community that is mainly focused on hard drugs as the dog’s effect on the supply chain is to reduce profit and interest in transporting softer drugs.


Now this is all fairly basic economics. You press a segment in the supply chain and you affect some result. Unfortunately it appears that the dogs may be contributing to the very problem they are designed to resolve.


This fear may be abated if it is highly trained professional people with experience in illegal drug use who are behind the dogs against drugs. But again unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Somebody who seems quite good at removals and somebody who has done well in the oil industry seem to be heavily involved in extending this policy further.


I have looked at some of the debates on this board and have read several books on this subject. It is very complex and seems to me to need incredibly smart people to come up with the answers. I am not sure if handing over the controls to amateurs in this field is really the answer. No disrespect intended.


Perhaps Petrofac's £60,000 would be better used funding a thorough investigation into the drugs problem in Shetland carried out by fully qualified independent professionals making recommendations as to how best to tackle it. Maybe they could discover why heroin use exploded after sniffer dogs were introduced. It would be nice to know the real reasons for the situation in Shetland. Then we might be able to deal with it.

Could not have put it better myself. The situation has become rediculous but as usual no one wants to admit they've made a big mistake so they will keep throwing money at the DAD in the missguided belief that that will fix it...It wont! No proabition will stop the drug trade, only ensuring every member of society has a good life, free of neglect, abuse, injustice and boredom will make the problem go away, and even then it'd take generations to go. Can't see that happening, so hold on tight everyone for we are on a rapid downward spiral....IMHO

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Who knows what goes on in Orkney...? You would have to ask an orcadian drug-user what goes on there. It does appear with Orkney being closer to the mainland & having more routes of entry that there could well be more illicit substances there than in Shetland. The possibility of there being a constant flow of all kinds of substances I would think is more likely as the carrier has no dogs to worry about.

I can't imagine that certain gangs haven't infiltrated Orkney when they seem so intent on bringing packages to another island that has far stricter controls at the point of entry.

I would guess like in any other area of the U.K that there are users of every substance. Legal or illeagal. Heroin has been available in Shetland long before the introduction of sniffer dogs, albeit on a far smaller scale.

So it would seem that the introduction of these dogs has increased the availability of hard drugs in the island. Surely this was not the intention.

I would be interested to know exactly how much it costs to train these dogs, purchase them & provide a salary for their handler, as it seems that Shetland's DAD scheme is not contributing very much to keeping drugs ( apart from softer drugs ) off the island. Personally I think this £££ would be better spent on your local DSP, helping people put their lives back together than having dogs that not only sniff out drugs, but also sniff people that have no association at all with drugs in some very intimate places causing red-faced embarrasment to those sniffed in the crotch!

It doesn't take a genius, but surely those that read the local rag can see that since the introduction of DAD heroin use has been spiralling out of control. So why throw good money at it when it could be spent better elsewhere?

Also like Ghostrider says most ( 98% I was told ) arrests are made from information recieved, though the dog gets mentioned any time there has been a succesful interception. Could this be a bit of positive spin put on the story by the Northern Constabulary, a bit of positive publicity ?

Maybe Shetlanders need to stand back & re-evaluate the situation. As an island community it has the opportunity to research & apply a more suitable way of solving problematic substance use, including alcohol which is used by the majority of substance users on the island, quite often problematically.

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^ Care to elaborate on your reasoning, Para'?


I think the dogs for drugs is the best thing Shetland has ever done, every boat and plane should be searched and on the spot drug tests a work places.

Anyone found to be high on drugs while driving should have there car crushed and banned from driving for life.


And if they are still paying back the bank or credit company for the cost of the car they have to pay it all back. No bankruptcy aloud.


Anyone who knows me well. Will be well aware, that I have had that view point about drugs. Since I was a at School.


And that includes Alcohol and Tobacco.


In some countries they execute drug dealers and I have no problem with that either.

At least they should be locked up for life in this country as the minimum sentence

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