Town among UK's most expensive for drugs

By Mark HeathTHE price of hard drugs in Ipswich are among the highest in the country - and the demand for some narcotics has almost disappeared, a survey has revealed.

By Mark Heath

THE price of hard drugs in Ipswich are among the highest in the country - and the demand for some narcotics has almost disappeared, a survey has revealed.

According to research carried out by Druglink magazine - published by the charity DrugScope - some areas of Ipswich are the most expensive in the UK to buy cannabis resin.

It is also the second most expensive place in the UK to buy cocaine, while the prices of heroin and crack have increased and the markets for amphetamine and LSD have largely disappeared.


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A spokesman for Drugscope said: “It's good news. It tends to suggest that there's less drugs around and that's often indicative of big seizures by local police.”

Harry Shapiro, editor of Druglink, added: “Ipswich seems to have actually bucked the recent trend of falling drug prices to become one of the most expensive towns in the UK to buy drugs and has even registered increases the price of heroin and crack.”

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Suffolk police welcomed the survey's findings and said attacking the use and supply of drugs in the county was one of their main concerns.

Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Pepper, southern area crime manager, said: “Tackling those who deal in class A drugs, in particular crack, but also heroin and cocaine, has been for some time, and still is, a priority for Suffolk police.

“We have carried out more than 30 operations to close crack houses and to bring those dealing in class A drugs to justice since April this year.

“Operations such as Operation Taurus and Operation Flea in particular have had a great deal of support and publicity from local media and the message that they are not welcome in Suffolk may well be getting through to the drug dealers, with prices being forced up as a consequence.”

She added: “Perhaps the greatest key to Suffolk's success in dealing with drug dealers is the people of Suffolk themselves.

“Our greatest asset in the fight against drug dealing is that the public know that they can talk to us about their concerns about local drugs activity.

“We will continue to use the intelligence that we receive both directly from the public and via the confidential Operation Crackdown hotline to target, investigate and prosecute drugs dealers.”

Simon Aalders, newly appointed co-ordinator for the Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team, also welcomed the findings.

“With higher prices hopefully more people will want to access treatment and the service is well placed to respond to those needs. It will push people into treatment and hopefully they will stay there,” he said.

But Chip Somers, project manager for Bury St Edmunds-based drug and alcohol counselling service Focus, said the high prices were no indication of a breakthrough in the county's drug problem.

“I don't think we have noticed anybody claiming that there is a shortage of drugs around at all,” he added.

“My experience is that the cost of the drug will be some hindrance, but that those who are dependent will achieve that price whatever it is and that will be bad because in that sense there may be an increase in crime to accommodate that drug use.

“We are still seeing more people presenting for treatment than we ever have in the past. I don't think this is an indicator of a decline in the drug problem at all.”

n Anyone who has suspicions about drug dealing activity in their community should call Suffolk police on 0800 253253.

mark.heath@eadt.co.uk

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