Drugs aren't just in cities
PUBLISHED: 12:14 18 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:07 28 May 2010
Last week s police raid in Wisbech reminded us that drugs aren t only a problem in Bretton, Brixton and Birmingham. It s a problem in rural areas too - where it often goes unnoticed, mainly because nobody expects it to be a problem. Back in the 1970s, whe
Last week's police raid in Wisbech reminded us that drugs aren't only a problem in Bretton, Brixton and Birmingham.
It's a problem in rural areas too - where it often goes unnoticed, mainly because nobody expects it to be a problem.
Back in the 1970s, when I was living in a Norfolk village, I regularly took my dog Ninky (short for Nincompoop, since you ask) for his late night walk past what had been the village bus shelter when we had a bus service.
It had become a meeting place for the village youths and I was quite taken by the pleasant aroma of their hand-rolled cigarettes. I eventually placed the smell: it had been particularly common in West End streets during the hippy days of the late sixties and on certain university campuses.
Since my late night walks with Ninky took place in the days when I dared speak to a group of teenagers without the fear of being beaten up or accused of child molestation, I asked them why they used cannabis. Why not a traditional can of cider or even Adnams best bitter?
"Hev yew tried a-carrying a twelve pack on the back of a bike?" came the obvious answer. And that's one of the serious problems about drugs. They're compact, can change hands easily - and their smallness makes them "invisible" to the parental eye.
It's uncomfortable to think that teenagers may be smoking not just cannabis but even heroin (yes, it can be smoked) in respectable Doddington or Elm. It would be unlikely if at least some weren't.
Drug abuse may occur across the age ranges in towns like Wisbech. In our villages, as in most rural areas, those misusing drugs tend to come from the younger age groups.
It's odd to think that, only a few generations back, addicts were even younger. Fen babies were fed Godfrey's Cordial by their parents. This mixture of alcohol, opium, treacle and water not surprisingly helped them go to sleep.
For those concerned about their own, a friend's or a family member's use, Bridgegate Drug Advice agency has offices in Church Mews, Wisbech, and in Chatteris. It can provide confidential advice, information and counselling (01945 584444) - and it's possible to drop in at the Wisbech office during office hours.