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The Drugs issue

Evening Gazette4/8/98
"Free Heroin" to get Teesside kiddies hooked.

Children as young as ten are been offered heroin free as the drug takes a lethal grip on Teesside.   Home Office research published 4/8/98 identifies Middlesbrough as a heroin "hotshot", with new addicts driven to lives of crime to feed their habits.  The town is said to be a supply centre for the region.  The report by the Home Office Police Research Group warns that the problem is widespread ... and is growing.  Unlike the "epidemic" of the 1980's linked to between 18 and 25, today's new users are more likely to be between 16 and 18 and include teenagers from "stable affluent families".  The report states: "It is, unfortunately, reasonable to suggest that we are facing a second heroin epidemic" It called for urgent action to set up drug services for young people and heroin users, and a co-ordinated approach to take out the supply network.

The Northern Echo  23/3/99
Heroin for kids at 50p on 'Smack city' estate

Heroin is been offered to teenagers at just 50p a time, a 14 year old boy on the Hardwick estate in Stockton was offered a cheap sample of the deadly drug by a dealer to try to get him hooked.  The horror story was one of several head by The Reverend Keith Benjamin, a South African anti drugs campaigner who visited the area on a fact finding visit.


The Sunday Express 16th August 1998
"The A - Z Vice girls' guide"

Plans for a prostitution tolerance zone have run into fierce opposition from residents who say their lives are being plagued by hookers, pimps, kerb-crawlers and drug dealers. More than a thousand have signed a petition opposing what they call an "A to Z of hooking" with police giving girls a map of streets where they can solicit in an attempt to control a problem that has affected inner city streets for years, but campaigners in the designated area of Middlesbrough are unhappy.

Residents View

Liz Chambers 42
Has seen girls as young as 13 working the streets said,
"They began arriving about about two years ago and it has been hell, this used to be a lovely area with a community spirit, now its full of prostitutes, drug pushers and pimps."

Henry Robinson 77
Who says local women are continually stopped by kerb crawlers said,
"A controlled area away from houses might resolve some of the situation."

Supt.  John Tough of Cleveland Police said,
"You are not going to get rid of prostitution so you have to come up with a strategy to deal with it, its a very complex issue. A controlled zone might work, but we need the approval of everyone, from residents, businesses and the girls themselves."
He is hoping to appoint a prostitute liaison officer and to work with other  agencies offering help and health advice to hookers and trying to stop under age girls being lured onto the street.

The Northern Echo The Prostitutes

LIZ'S story
"A few of my mates from school are on the game.  It's the money.  I was working for 70 a week for god knows how many hours, but I make 150 a night, its better than 30 on the dole" She works only a couple hours a night but she has made enough money to put down a deposit on a flat in Stockton she says, "Football nights are the quietest, would-be customers are at home watching the match on TV or at the football stadium".

Waif faced Lindsey say's she's 19 but could pass for 16, the 200 she earns in a night pays for her Heroin Addiction, she had been selling herself for a month.
"I'm Homeless and the council won't give me anywhere to live, what I do pays for a roof over my head, bed and breakfast that's why I do it, also I can buy clothes and feed myself" She says her mother has five other children and there's no room for her, she does not know how much longer she will be working the streets, then her face brightens up.  "I'm going on methadone and the probation service is going to fix me up with a flat"

DEBBIE'S story
Appearing without a coat from outside a Middlesbrough house, she could be waiting for her boyfriend or her farther but for the invitation, "Do you want any business"  Debbie started out as a gym slip prostitute in Middlesbrough she has been selling her body for about a year and a half.  "My mum threw me out when I was 15, I had no money to live on so I came down here, the money is easy I can make up to 200 a night"  she doesn't know what the future holds for her "I want a punter," making clear the brief interview is over.


Private Landlords

Some of these are quite acceptable but, for the few who abuse the Housing Benefit System, in asking such prices for basic needs, the state of these properties are unbearable to any decent self respecting person, mainly situated on Crescent Road, Southfield Road, Borough Road.  The people who do enter these establishments are already on that slippery downwards spiral, they have no security within the building's, easily hounded, are easy prey for domineering personalities.  Bullied to the extent of physical violence, belittled for their lack of intelligence, their hygiene standards, not to say the pressures from co tenants dependent on Drugs & Alcohol.  No consideration from the landlords for problems with the accommodation i.e. general repairs, damage caused by accidents and not to say the passing Health & Safety Standards.  Also the use of out dated equipment, charging for equipment not there, all this and on top the worst landlords making rules on a whim then changing the goal posts to suite themselves.

Middlesbrough Borough Council

Missed chances

The Goverment and Europe has pumped money over the years into the outer boundaries of the Middlesbrough districts, St. Hildas, Grove Hill, Pallister Park, this money though is can now be accessed by local Partnership Boards.  The Central wards of Southfield & Gresham have no Partnership Board yet this is to its detriment, not having such an established structure in place.  It does have a fledgling group of people which has come out of the Community Appraisal the 5 Parks Partnership.  But the turmoil within MBC its restructuring and internal party politics, it is not being supported fully.  The Council will have to listen to resident led organisations Government thinking at present is that  "Partnerships" between local authorities and such organisations managing projects will access these funds in the near future.

A Common worry from the residents is "They're going to knock down part of our area for a car park"

Q. Who started the rumor ????
A. Was it the Buisnesses in the area seeing that there property value plummet ?
A. House Owners with the same idea ?
A. Or was it what the Council wanted all along ?

If that's how they all feel, give it 9 or 10 years and it will happen!

Area Statistics

Conclusion and Possible solution ?