UNVEILED: DEWAR'S DIARIES; Donald's Brush with Cocaine

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), August 30, 2001 | Go to article overview

UNVEILED: DEWAR'S DIARIES; Donald's Brush with Cocaine


Byline: IAN DOW

SCOTLAND'S late First Minister Donald Dewar had a teenage brush with drugs, it was revealed in one of his diaries yesterday.

But this isn't a skeleton in the highly-respected politician's cupboard.

Nor is it evidence of a secret wild-child adolescence of a man renowned in later life for his donnish love of books.

But a 15-year-old Donald Dewar recalled in his diary that he was given cocaine.

The drug was part of the treatment for bleeding in the formidable Dewar nose.

He recorded in the entry for 5 August, 1953: "Owing to my previous night's illness I spent the morning in bed and the early afternoon reading. At 5.30 I went to see Dr Gavin Young about my nose.

"He discovered some blood vessels on the inside of the nose that caused the bleeding.

"He cauterized or burned them but thanks to the cocaine there was no pain. Went to bed at 8pm and read till 10.30."

That is the only mention of drugs in the teenage Dewar diary but virtually every entry finishes with "went to bed and read until ..."

Throughout his life, Donald Dewar was a dedicated book lover and enthusiastic collector and his passion will be remembered in the reading room bearing his name in the new Parliament building.

The diary is one of almost 1000 books, photographs and other items of personal and political memorabilia donated by his children, Marion and Iain Dewar.

Donald Dewar died last October after suffering a brain haemorrhage. …

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