Source: Scotland On Sunday
Contact:  4 Oct 1998
Author: James Murray Home Affairs Editor


THE father of the ecstasy victim Leah Betts wants to lead the fight against
drugs in Scotland, but only if he is allowed to pursue a hard-edged
campaign, against so-called harm-reduction.

Paul Betts, the former police inspector who was shortlisted for the job of
UK drugs tsar, says he would relish the chance to be the next director of
Scotland Against Drugs

SAD's first director, David Macauley, quit earlier this summer believing
there was no clear drugs policy in Scotland.

Although the Scottish Secretary, Donald Dewar, cut SAD's funding by UKP1.5m
in January, it sill has a key role attracting investment from the private
sector to fund community-based projects.

The number of drugs-related deaths this year in Scotland already exceeds
that for last year. Yesterday John Simpson, 25, from Glasgow, was named the
74th victim in Strathclyde alone.

Despite the controversy over the direction of drugs policy, however; Betts,
who has just returned home to Essex after a two-week programme of
anti-drugs talks in Highland schools with his wife Jan, said he would love
to take on thejob.

But he stressed: "I would only take it if I was given assurances that
Scotland Against Drugs would be totally against this idea of
harm-reduction. I only discovered [after her death] that Leah had been
given advice on harm-reduction. She was told that if she took ecstasy she
would be safe if she drank water, and not alcohol. She was not warned of
any of the dangers."

Leah died in November 1995, after lapsing into a coma following her 18th
birthday party. 
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Checked-by: Mike Gogulski