‘We have a unique role in breaking county lines’
THE PRESSURES OF THE PANDEMIC are diverting services into new ways of working, with plenty of energy spent adapting systems to ensure continuity of service. But this month’s cover story (page 6) is a reminder that drug dealing is also having to adapt its business model. And unfortunately the varying stages of lockdown have opened up new opportunities – and necessity – for exploitation.
Shropshire’s experience shows that there is no let-up in county lines activity, with lines changing and being replaced regularly. The only way we can tackle this violent and highly lucrative business effectively is by working closely with police and social services – and by realising that substance misuse services have a unique role to play in ‘working holistically and without judgement’ to help young people and vulnerable adults out of a trap that has become modern slavery.
Those young people – anyone’s child – at the receiving end of youth justice, are themselves victims of crime and need our support at this vital time. This could be the crossroads at which they are able to escape from a cycle of crime and get the support they need to leave this terrifying situation behind – and we have to do better than let them join an even bigger training ground in the criminal justice system.