Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Lifting Lid on the Misery Drugs Bring to Region; SPECIAL CHRONICLE INVESTIGATION SHINES LIGHT ON AWARD-WINNING PROJECTS TO CURB PROBLEM

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Lifting Lid on the Misery Drugs Bring to Region; SPECIAL CHRONICLE INVESTIGATION SHINES LIGHT ON AWARD-WINNING PROJECTS TO CURB PROBLEM

Article excerpt

Byline: By ADAM JUPP Chief Reporter

THE true scale of the North East's drug problem is today laid bare.

A special Chronicle investigation lifts the lid on the misery caused by killer substances in our communities.

We can reveal drugs worth more than pounds 10m were taken off our streets in a series of police raids targeting known dealers.

Hauls of heroin have rocketed by more than 2,000% over the last year, while nearly 500 times more cocaine is being recovered than in 2005.

A Government-backed study seen by the Chronicle states more than one person a week is being killed by drugs in the region.

And our probe reveals more than 9,000 North East children are living with the daily hell of parents hooked on heroin or crack cocaine.

Today, police and drug treatment workers told of their ongoing battle to win the war on drugs as we shine a light on award-winning projects in the region.

For our special report, we accessed drug seizure figures for the last year. In Northumbria, 109,716g of heroin were recovered in 2007/08, compared to just 5.181g the previous year.

With the class A drug changing hands for around pounds 50 a gram on Tyneside streets, that places the value of the haul at pounds 5.4m.

Three years ago, just 73g of cocaine was recovered in Northumbria but since then a blizzard of the drug has swept across the region.

Last year, the haul was 499 times higher, at 36,408g, which had a street value of more than pounds 1.5m.

The amount of class B amphetamines recovered almost doubled in 12 months.

In 2007/08, 100,193g was seized, compared to 50,239 in 2006/07 and 44,495g the year before. Hauls of herbal cannabis were also on the up, with 165,838g picked up last year, rising from 25,899g in 2006/07.

The last three years have also seen crack cocaine peddled in the North East for the first time. 285g of the hugely-addictive class A drug were seized in 2007/08, compared to just 7.14g two years earlier.

Northumbria Police drugs coordinator Det Insp Mandy Shea said: "We are committed through Total Policing to disrupting the illegal supply of drugs into our region, closing crack houses and cannabis farms, and reducing drug-related crime.

"We are working with our communities and will continue to remove as many drugs from the streets as possible.

"It's important that the public continue to tell us what they know about the supply of all types of drugs and we would urge anyone with information to get in touch with their neighbourhood teams.

"Drug dealers profit from the misery of others and we are using the Proceeds of Crime Act to take the fight to the dealers, place them before the courts and deprive them of their liberty and their assets obtained through the misery of others.

But the work doesn't end there. …

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