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15 January 2007

Outrage In Fraserburgh Over Heroin Capital Slur - Press & Journal

by Andrew Kellock, Press & Journal

Politicians and drug workers have leapt to the defence of a north-east community branded Scotland's heroin capital.

The spotlight has again been turned on Fraserburgh following the suspected heroin overdose death of a former skipper.

Jackie Green died in a flat close to his home in the town's Kirk Brae, just a year after telling how he had beaten his addiction thanks to a rehab programme in South Africa paid for by his family.

His death is believed to be one of three drug-related fatalities in the Broch which police have been asked to investigate since December 23.

But someone who has worked closely with local addicts has hit out at claims in some sections of the media that Fraserburgh has the worst drugs problem in Scotland.

Janice Jess, who co-ordinated the volunteer Grampian Addiction Problems Service, said: "We should knock on the head right away the notion that Fraserburgh is Scotland's heroin capital.

"Yes, it has its drugs problems, but so does every community in the country."

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson agreed. "It is a fact that Fraserburgh has its drugs problems, but it is also a fact there are other communities in Scotland which have far worse problems," he said.

"What we are also very thankful for is that we don't have the same level of crime or violence associated with the drugs scene as many other places do.

"One of the encouraging signs we're seeing is that people are looking at the havoc drugs have wreaked on previous generations and moving away from them. Young people are looking at brothers, sisters, uncles, parents and not going into drug abuse in the same way."

SNP leader Alex Salmond has called for more emphasis to be put on providing solutions to the drugs problem and helping addicts recover.

The Banff and Buchan MP said: "It's not fair and it's not right to describe the Broch as the country's drugs capital.

"There are serious problems but the same can be said of communities all over Scotland. To single Fraserburgh out is very misleading."

Mr Green, 47, was found dead six years after a heroin overdose claimed the life of his ex-fisherman brother, Stephen.

In December 2005, Mr Green told the Press and Journal how he had blown £1million on drugs and parties.

He bought the 85ft trawler Karizma for £260,000 in 1992 and was making more than £50,000 a year as a skipper.

But in November 1997 while fishing off Norway the vessel started taking in water and Mr Green and his crew of five had to scramble into a liferaft. He hired out his fishing quota for cod and haddock for £180,000, and a year later sold his quota of 500 boxes a trip outright with his fishing licence for £1.2million.

The former skipper planned to take a couple of years off work before deciding what to do next, but developed a £500-a-day heroin habit.

His family rallied together and raised the money to send him to the Hope House rehab clinic in South Africa.

He was found dead at his home last Tuesday.

to read the original story click on Press & Journal
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