The massive drugs raids staged this morning by Police Scotland inevitably bring to mind the dark days of the 1980s when the prevalance of heroin was a huge problem in the Capital.
Thankfully times have changed since the so-called Trainspotting days when squads of police officers smashing down the doors of drug dealers were a regular sight in some neighbourhoods.
Heroin is no longer as big a problem as it once was in the Lothians but it still blights thousands of lives both directly and indirectly.
The drug and heroin substitute methadone are implicated in around 70 deaths a year in the Lothians with hundreds of babies born annually with serious health problems due to their mothers addiction. The problem does not stop there, of course, with drug addicts stealing for cash to feed their habits still one of the biggest drivers of housebreaking.
Today’s dawn raids will be wecomed in homes across the Lothians. They will help us all sleep a little easier in our beds tonight knowing that we are at least a little safer. This is not a sign that we are going back to the bad times but a signal that the police are willing to strike while the iron is hot.
The problems associated with heroin dealing are declining in the Lothians, with the biggest trade in the class A drug having shifted now to the West Coast, This is an ideal time for Police Scotland to crackdown on the trade in a concerted way when there is a real chance of driving the menace out of our estates.
We don’t expect the problem to be eradicated completely, that is perhaps unrealistic, but there is an opportunity to dismantle many of the shrinking networks of drug dealing which still exist in the east. Chances like that have to be seized, especially at a time when the force has more officers than for a generation and general crime levels are falling. Today’s raids will remind the criminal gangs that the police are ready to take the fight to them.