Scotland against Drugs?
January 31, 2002
In Scotland if you're watching the TV and a politician wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with "just say no" appears, behaving like a relic from some pre-historic youth culture, then you can be sure that somewhere in the background lurks SAD (Scotland against Drugs).
SAD is funded by the Scottish Parliament and by big business those twin pillars of morality. Everybody who is anybody can be roped into making a positive comment on behalf of this organisation - and if they refuse and they're in the spotlight, what then? I think we know the answer to that one.
SAD is against drugs but not apparently against all drugs. They have a list of business sponsors which include:
Manufactures alcohol a legal drug which, unlike cannabis, has killed people who have overdosed.
Sells alcohol and cigarettes - Yes cigarettes which are a major killer in Scotland and elsewhere.
Scottish "newspaper" which regularly makes money from alcohol and cigarette advertising.
R S McColl
Scottish retailer that has supplied generations of Scottish smokers with cigarettes and consequently Scottish hospitals with sick people and Scottish morgues with dead people
Off license - nuff said?
Sells alcohol and cigarettes
Sainsbury Sava Centre
Sells alcohol and cigarettes
Is this the same Premier Beverages that sells alcohol and are the retail outlet for Antigua Distillery ?
Distillery and subsidiary of Diageo PLC itself a major world wide alcohol manufacturer and distributor
A stated aim of SAD is "To invest in sustainable steps to help reduce drug misuse in local communities engaging private and public sector funding"
Presumably "reducing drug misuse" doesn't include alcohol and cigarettes both of which are more harmful than Cannabis. Indeed cigarettes have killed many many more people than all the illegal drugs put together and then some and impaired the quality of life for countless millions more
Don't get me wrong, I actually don't have a problem with people selling alcohol and even cigarettes. Prohibition against alcohol for example, caused all kinds of crime and mayhem. What I can't stomach is the hypocrisy of SAD being "against" drugs while receiving money from companies that profit from ...... selling drugs. Legal or otherwise
Mr Macauley the previous director of SAD attacked harm reduction groups for "peddling death" - I guess he must believe that cigarettes are a new fangled health aid
It is unknown if SAD has ever issued an apology for this incredible slur against harm reduction groups
We also have to ask if SAD can be impartial while it is receiving money from the legal recreational drugs industry? Can SAD assure us that the cigarette and alcohol industry have no undue influence on the running of SAD itself ?
Interestingly the current SAD director, Alistair Ramsay, proudly proclaimed in a BBC news online article:
"The Scottish drugs strategy, Tackling Drugs in Scotland: Action in Partnership, launched in March 1999, creates an atmosphere which encourages new initiatives, based on sound researched principles, to be developed in Scotland."
However clicking on the "research" link on the SAD web site brings up.....one page!! A commitment to "researched principles" ?
Perhaps SAD "initiatives" are researched but certainly SAD are not sharing that research with the rest of the world. It would be most encouraging if the "researched principles" were open to peer review. Openness, disclosure of research and peer review being of course some of the very bedrocks of science. Sadly SAD cannot claim that science is on their side while they remain so secretive.
What's also interesting is the "action in partnership" It is a fact that NOT ONE of the front line drug agencies are represented on the SAD steering committee.
David Liddell, the director of the Scottish Drugs Forum said:
"We were surprised that we weren’t included, as we are the umbrella body for drugs agencies.
"We believe it is crucial for SAD to have direct links with those working in the field. We are keen to avoid a repetition of the damaging public rows about the direction of drug policy in Scotland."
Don't be surprised David, SAD is an organisation set up by politicians for politicians. They don't like uncomfortable facts, witness their one page of "research" information and they certainly don't like people who might disagree with them.
Just be glad David that you have not been labeled as "peddling death" as SAD has done to others who don't share their point of view
Scotland against Drugs? I'll drink to that and maybe have a fag at the same time. On second thoughts I'll have a joint instead.