Thursday, November 23, 2006

Drugs- a scourge in Southampton.

Operation Phoenix; the name given to the operation to fight drug and drug-related crime in Southampton.
Some of the results of their operations can be read at

A dismal story.

My local paper The Echo reports how two men were locked up for using a samurai sword to carry out a vicious attack on a drug addict in the St. Mary's area of Southampton. The victim (if that is the right word) was a man called Adam Stebbing (whome I know of) whose family are well known (for mostly all the wrong reasons) in Southampton. Stebbing had been drinking and smoking cannabis and ended up at a flat in Denzil Avenue where he then bought some crack cocaine. While he was still at the property Orville Miller, who had been involved in a dispute with Stebbing over money and drugs, arrived at the property , picked up an ornamental sword and threatened Stebbing. Miller then left the property and returned later with Lance Johnson who was armed with a golf club. The Echo reports that Stebbing offered them £500 which was refused and that was then attacked at the property. However, opinion is divided locally as some people aallege he was attacked outside The Kingsland Tavern and others in Cranberry Terrace, a road opposite Denzil Avenue. In any event he sustained horrific injuries. The golf club broke into three pieces and he was then hacked up with the sword injuring his side, legs and buttocks, face and most significantly, one of his eyes. Barely cconscious he called his mother who picked him up and took him to hospital. Had he not received prompt medical treatment, he would have certainly died.

Why do I write of such terrible things?

Because Southampton is in the grip of an illegal drugs epidemic. It is an epidemic that is not touching all parts of the city geographically, ethnically or within each social class equally but is an epidemic nonetheless. It is leading to a crime wave where the victims are often those least able to afford it and it is destroying the very fabric of community upon which civilised society depends.

The statistics are extraordinary. The Home Office estimates that 50% of all crime is drug related an that the annual cost of damage to society caused by each addict is about £45,000. The average heroin user will commit 435 crimes annually to fund his habit.

I am not sure that I have any answers (although I am very nervous indeed about proposals to legalise and then tightly regulate drugs or to issue addicts with large quantities of heroin on the NHS) but we do need to have a real debate.

Too often politicians skirt round the issue; illegal drug use is scarcely mentioned in debates about crime, poverty, urban deprivation, anti-social behaviour and the like, yet often it is the route cause of such undesirable phenomena.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a mess

3:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Home Office estimates that 50% of all crime is drug related.."
I have worse news for you, 99% of all crime is alcohol related. Go figure.

6:18 pm  

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