Lat night the District Council looked at a report about drug-taking and the needs of young people in our district. An important subject – but once again, no-one from the local newspapers was here. It was a rather vague sort of meeting, and nothing definite was decided – just that various ideas will be discussed with other local bodies in September.
As the local press weren’t present , here’s some more details about what was said:
First of all, many councillors were critical about the lack of information in the report. Here’s a few quotes from it:
“Most young people consider alcohol, cannabis and cigarettes as the most commonly used drugs. Cocaine, Speed , LSD and Steroids were identified but not perceived as being used to any great extent. Heroin was not mentioned.”
“The most common drug that professionals [from groups such as the Youth Offending Service, Essex Police and Social Services ] thought young people were using was cannabis, closely followed by alcohol. Over a third of the professionals felt that ecstasy was being used, almost a quarter said crack cocaine and only one fifth said tobacco”
There were no figures to back this up. How many young people in our district were asked? When professionals said that young people were using crack cocaine in the district, how many users did they think there were? What were the police figures? Chris Black said that this part of the report was “pretty sloppy” , our Lib Dem colleague Chris Lumley said it was “gossipy”
Even so, we do know there are drug problems in the district, and the report had ideas about how to fight against drug-taking. These are going to be discussed at a meeting with other local bodies in September.
Chris Black said that extra leisure facilities that young people could enjoy, even a cinema or bowling at the Park School site, would be useful. He also supported having a drop-in centre for young people in Rayleigh Town Centre , if the money could be found, plus better information for parents and teenagers.
Chris Lumley suggested that more police on the beat would reduce outdoor drug use in certain parts of the district.
Tory Councillor Terry Cutmore said that the problem for the under-17s was that they didn’t have good access to transport , considering the bus cuts there had been, and that left them more likely to “hang around on corners” because they couldn’t get to things.
If you have any thoughts on any of this , contact Chris Black at firstname.lastname@example.org