Drugs in London, UK – A State of Confusion.

Backdated from previous BA website

The issue is: Dedicated Fixed Site Needle Exchange. Camden Council says: Everyone else has one so we must too! Actually what they are saying is – You are going to get one whether you like it or not!

Will Camden Council will force this policy through in a similar fashion to that in Lambeth no matter what the weight of objection. “The provision of a dedicated fixed site needle exchange is NON-NEGOTIABLE” (Camden Drugs Action Team). If this policy is non-negotiable, why all the pretence, going through the motions of Heath Impact Assessments, or so-called community engagement and consultation? The West End of London community would do well to study the latest announcement from Lambeth where Lambeth Council Planning Committee have recently passed the application for a new dedicated fixed site needle exchange just off Brixton High Street. Lambeth is the template for the new dedicated fixed site needle exchange at Tottenham Court Road underpass toilet, which Camden Council Planning Committee will no doubt approve when the matter comes before them in the very near future. It will be fascinating to see now that committee manages to set aside the torrent of issues that will be raised concerning their own UDP, Community Safety, London Underground public safety, and all the rest. We wonder who is wielding the big stick, with no regard for the genuine concerns of the community and workers that will have to suffer the consequences of such misguided action. This is not local democracy at work, but a higher authority? Are government targets are the key to all this confusion? – all about getting more problematic addicts into treatment as fast as possible? Is the class A drug market spiralling out of control? (of course it is). Why not spend the money allocated for this project to better effect by ensureing that the existing sevices are improved to provide better treatment. The West End Drugs Partnership including Camden and Westminster DAT’s, agreed that the way forward should be through the use of a ‘mixed economy’ of measures rather than a concentration of services at one location. It would seem that some high authority has allowed Camden to ignore all these agreed protocols. The location Camden have chosen to implement this plan is a disused public toilet in a public underpass that runs between Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road underground station ticket hall – this toilet was previously closed by Camden Council (who own it) because they were unable to manage the serious levels of drug activity and violence. Do they seriously think that by placing such a service underground will help – out of sight, out of mind? We leave it to you to make your own judgment?

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