Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jul 2002
Source: Hull Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd
Author:  Geoff Ogden, Senior co-ordinator, East Riding and Hull Combined 
Drug Action Teams


While I fully understand the concerns of residents about levels of 
drug-related crime there can be no excuse for mounting personal attacks on 
those trying so hard to deal with the situation.

The attack on me (Letters, July 7) was also by implication an attack on all 
agencies involved in tackling substance misuse and warrants the strongest 

My quote to the crime reporter of the Mail last week about being unaware of 
certain issues related only to the incidents reported around Pearson Avenue 

I was very much aware of the wider problems in the Spring Bank area, other 
parts of the city and the East Riding.

Few could be more aware than myself and my colleagues about the huge task 
we face. Over a five-year period I have reviewed every drug-related 
fatality in the East Riding and Hull - about 165 - and I knew many of those 
who died and their families.

As a consequence of recommendations from the reviews, services have 
improved. Deaths have reduced by 50 per cent. But one death is still one 
too many.

Before my retirement from Humberside Police in 1995, I attended numerous 
post mortems of overdose victims and in two instances was present with 
relatives when life support machines were turned off.

Yes, I do live in a village. A village where over the past four years three 
young men have also died. The suggestion that drugs are only an inner city 
problem is a myth.

While the drug forums are proving successful, the Drugs Action Team has 
established a hotline telephone number for residents, parents, users or 
agency personnel to seek guidance or share frustrations about perceived 
lack of action. Members of the public have my assurance that if they use 
this facility the appropriate organisation will be informed to act quickly.

I know at first hand the misery drugs cause. That is why I do the job. 
Whether my colleagues and I have made a difference others can judge but we 
have tried hard and I do not want lessons about the "coal face" from an 
unidentified letter-writer.

If he or she would care to call my colleagues or me on the hotline number 
0800 138 0941 we will deal with problems he or she may have in the area if 
they have not received a response from elsewhere.

Only so much can be done locally. We live in a corrupt society where the 
black economy is accepted as the norm.

Geoff Ogden, Senior co-ordinator, East Riding and Hull Combined Drug Action 
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart