THE recent police drugs operation in Ashbourne raises many questions.
At a time of stretched police resources, what did 10 or so officers achieve and how much did it cost?
Were any ‘Mr Bigs’ captured, international drugs rings smashed, millions of pounds of assets seized to be ploughed back into funding the constabulary?
No, a couple of hapless locals were found with a few pills in their pants, and unfortunately the police were presumably still in bed the next day when a armed thief raided Sainsbury’s.
The mixed messages sent by chief constables, politicians and drug tzars about legalising certain drugs, to reduce all the burglaries that fund drug habits, the gangland shootings etc adds to the confusion.
In terms of the millions of deaths from cancer, heart and liver disease, road traffic accidents, costs to the NHS, ambulances tied up with drunks while real emergencies wait, there are two drugs found in cigarettes and alcoholic drinks which are the cause of much bigger problems, and happen to be legal.
A more effective solution may be to allow employers and the police to perform random drug testing of drivers, pilots, surgeons etc using hair samples that can reveal drug usage going back over many months, with a zero tolerance policy — use drugs — no job.
I don’t care if my pilot used cocaine 12 hours or one hour before coming on duty — he should not be in the cockpit.
Similarly as no ‘safe’ limits have been identified for driving after using the ever changing range of illegal drugs, similar swab and hair tests should be used with an automatic five year ban for any drug use.
We should end these dangerous police chases as seen on ‘Traffic Cops’ and the like, with pursuits through urban areas at ridiculous speeds only to find a tiny amount of crack crack, so to speak!
An approach combining legalising some class B/C drugs, seizing assets of major organised crime, and testing in the workplace would be a big step forward, and you’ll only know it’s working if the street price of drugs rises dramatically — the laws of supply and demand.
The expensive and inefficient exercises we saw in Ashbourne recently achieve nothing, and I would hazard a guess that individuals caught in such operations receive only a caution or paltry fine.
Drugs barons are changing tactics, realising that bigger profits can be made at lower risk from counterfeit prescription medicines.
Originally a problem in China, Russian, India and Africa, this is increasingly invading Europe.
The estimates for deaths caused by fake medicines worldwide equate to a Pan Am 104 crashing on Lockerbie every day of the year.
Now there’s something for Ashbourne police to get their teeth into, but I suspect too big a pill to swallow!
BEMUSED ASHBOURNE RESIDENT