Dear Messenger: Providing places for drug users

Dear Messenger December 2019

Dear Messenger,

I was very interested to read about the Burngreave TARA meeting concerning drug use around Ellesmere Green in the last issue.

For far too long drug policy, both locally and nationally, seems to be more concerned with moving people on, and making sure ‘key’ areas (like the city centre) aren’t tainted by the presence of people who are off-putting to shoppers. Simply moving these people on does nothing to help them, and (as we can see from the report of the meeting) only annoys residents I the areas they have been pushed into.

So, acts such as removing the local needle exchange would not really be of help to the wider community, as drug users would simply be moved from one place to another. Making sure the green is well lit and well used, so the community can feel safe in the area, would be far more useful.

Like it or not, drug users exist and will continue to do so and so will want somewhere where they can use their substances where they feel safe. Perhaps we should be looking at providing places where they can do this, rather than trying to move them on on an almost daily basis.

Yours, S Bennet