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Working Together to Break the Grip of Drugs – Letter in the Dundee Courier

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The Dundee Courier printed the picture above as its cover a couple of days ago.  It was very effective – at least on me and had me on my knees!  I wrote to them this response and am delighted to see that today they had it as their main letter (see above)
There is a hopelessness about so many people.  They are without hope because they are without God – and that is surely what the Gospel is about.  God have mercy on this city….this is why we are here!
Dear Editor,
Thank you for your front cover and following story on the drug problem in Dundee (Monday, May 15). Although the picture was very disturbing, that is the point. The whole issue is very disturbing. I’m afraid however that the suggestion of shooting galleries, even if it were to work, is just a sticking plaster measure. The problem is complex and needs a multidisciplinary approach. Drug dealing should be much more severely punished, there needs to be an increase in drug rehab provision and most of all we need to ask why people are so desperate that they will take a drug which destroys their life and often kills them.
 Another story in the Courier indicates another source of the problem.   We have now reached a stage in our society where dedicated mental health workers are to be deployed in the cities schools.   As the report points out the major issue is that of dysfunctional families and broken down relationships.   As a society we need to ask why there is such hopelessness and despair among so many in our community. Dundee is a great city, but there are those for whom that is irrelevant as their lives seem without hope. I wonder if we are prepared to face up to what is happening among so many in our community, or we will we continue to gloss over the deep-rooted problems in so many lives?
 I don’t think that this is a problem which will be sorted by any one group or any one simplistic solution. The police, the education system, social work, the health service, voluntary organisations and churches, families, and ordinary people caring for one another in the community.all need to work together.    We can choose to avoid this issue, play the blame game,or make a superficial solution,  but surely what is needed is a new and radical approach from us all. Thank you to the Courier for at least raising the issue. Where do we go from here?
David Robertson

St Peters Free Church
4 St Peter St


  1. As a Pharmacist with thirteen years experience working with addicts and prostitutes in Dundee and reaching out to them with the Good News of New Life in Jesus, God’s only Son, the Messiah, I can tell you that there is no desire to hear such a Message.

    Sure some on Methadone/Subutex Programmes wish they were not, the daily trek to a Pharmacy for a fix would grind anyone down, but they are otherwise happy to go on in their sin. Apart from God’s Free Grace aren’t we all!

    The current societal “fixes” are as David says “sticking plaster measures.” They haven’t worked and they are incapable of working for 90+% of Drug Service Users. They do however ease the social conscience of Health Service and Criminal Justice Service strategists.

    There are many decent, caring people out there both employed by various Agencies and in the voluntary sector eg. Eagles Wings Trust, but most are applying a secular solution to a Spiritual problem.

    The rejection of our Creator God by the Powers that be and the spiritual vacuum that has been imposed by them in our almost totally secularised school system with its atheistic/evolutionary Worldview, leave no grounds for hope in the lives of so many from a very early age and a combination of despair, boredom and bad company leads many down a spiral of disaster. Also do not underestimate the effects that sexual, physical and emotional abuse have had in the lives of many of these poor souls. Hearing their stories would make a stone weep.

    May God in his Great Mercy grant us a turning again to Himself and His Laws which He put in place not to be a killjoy, but to lead us in the path that leads to Life, not despair, death and destruction.

    1. Perhaps you’d all be interested in reading Johann Hari’s widely praised book “Chasing the Scream: The first and last days of the war on drugs”. I read it sometime ago now and thoroughly recommend it though – as you may have guessed – his proposals on how to tackle this distressing problem have nothing to do with prayer.

  2. so compare what Jackie Pullinger does in Hong Kong with what is needed here- is it not the same problem, and the same God whose healing power we seek?

  3. I’m a social worker and yes there is no easy fix, especially as it’s now generations of drug use within families and all that comes with that.
    I have seen a great Christian resource which is being rolled out in Glasgow called Safer families . Church families help struggling families in the community whether it’s respite , fostering or befriending and work in partnership with social work . Many good outcomes and the real meaning of early intervention in my opinion. It’s is also saving money as less children being accommodated . My hope is it will help future generations and hopefully see their identity is in Christ .

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