Shock hotspot for hard drugs in Bodmin
BODMIN has the third highest number of heroin and crack cocaine users in Cornwall now receiving treatment for their addiction, a shock report has revealed.
The town has been designated a "hotspot'' for opiate misuse.
Only Newquay and Penzance show higher numbers of people undergoing treatment.
Cornwall Council's Adult Drug Treatment Needs Assessment report shows that nine people in every thousand living in Bodmin over the age of 18 are being treated for drug addiction.
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The latest Bodmin crime figures reveal that although overall crime is down, assaults and house burglaries increased, and one of the main factors is the number of heroin users in the town, say police.
The officer in charge of neighbourhood policing in Bodmin until last week, Ian Drummond-Smith, told the Cornish Guardian: "We have several addicts in the area who officers will continue to target but they continue to offend to feed their addiction.''
The new acting police inspector for Bodmin, James Honeywill, said this week the force takes the issue of drugs very seriously.
"In addition to the prevention work undertaken by the force, we enforce drug legislation through the execution of drugs warrants and arrests for offences of possession and supply. We constantly review crime trends, incidents and criminal intelligence and where sufficient information exists, we will take positive action against drug users by swearing-out and executing Misuse of Drugs Act warrants,'' he said.
Mr Honeywill said treating drug users for their addiction was important. "I fully support drug treatment programmes as these really do help users fight addiction.
"However, I would like to reiterate that we treat drugs misuse very seriously and will take positive action to deal with offences where information exists.
"This is even more important in offences of supply. I would appeal to anyone who knows of anyone dealing drugs to let us know because we will target them and take action to protect our communities.''
The report on drug treatment in the county has been compiled by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Drug and Alcohol Action team, whose manager, Bob Crossland, said there were "no major surprises'' in the report.
"There is not one single reason why one town is at the top of the list to another; part of it is linked to the population,'' he said.
"It is a never-ending story. The largest number of addicts live in the larger towns – it relates to the way people live. We can access illegal drugs anywhere, and it is not easier in Newquay than it is in other towns.''
Drug treatment in Cornwall costs £8.4 million per year.
The report shows a 49 per cent treatment success rate, with the majority of referrals coming through GPs (31 per cent), self-referrals (25 per cent) and the criminal justice system (14 per cent). Others come via social services and probation services, for example.
Mr Crossland said money spent on treatment is "money well spent".
"£1 (on treatment) will save the local community £2 or £3 later on," he said. "One of the aims that we have is to get everybody who wants treatment to get treatment.
"If we had a magic wand we would have services open longer, during the evenings and weekends so there is access to support when it is needed.''