Yesterday, The Lincolnite posted a controversial video of users openly administering drugs in an alcove on Clasketgate.
The rise in drug taking and anti-social behaviour on the streets of the city has not gone unnoticed by local authorities, and most of all the public.
Between April and June this year alone, the council received 243 calls for services relating to begging, rough sleeping and addiction-related anti-social behaviour.
However, It’s not a totally new idea. In 2013, the City of Lincoln Council set up its an intervention team to deal with nuisance behaviour in the city, plus offences like littering and dog fouling – It built on the council’s Public Protection and Anti Social Behaviour Team.
So what needs to change?
The video posted and shared widely on social media attracted hundreds of comments and shares with many offering their own suggestions on how to fix Lincoln’s drug problem.
These are some of your ideas and thoughts:
‘Provide more housing’
Some residents were under the impression that drug users were trapped in a cycle of homelessness. Where they took drugs to cope with living on the street and found themselves on the street because they are taking drugs.
Emma Davy said: “Actually provide housing. Putting them in prison doesn’t do them any favours other than getting them off the street for a few months here and there.
“They will be right back at it once they get out because they are homeless.
“Many of them take drugs in the first place because they are homeless and that gets them through the day.
“The self medicate for their depression and more than likely trauma that they’ve experienced whilst growing up.
“This just shows the lack of support there is out there.”
According to the City of Lincoln Council’s Intervention Team plans however, while in some cases vulnerable people and drug users are homeless, the majority are not.
City council Strategic Director of Communities and Environment Simon Walters wrote in the council’s report: “They just choose to locate themselves in the city centre as this is where their social network is and where they can more easily feed their addiction.”
Others said more needed to be done to rehabilitate drug users and fund counselling programs.
Ben Cornwell said: “We need clean up programmes, support to get them clean and something to keep them clean…on going counselling etc.
“In reality? They’ll probally just put up a curtain.”
Tia Wray said: “More funding should be put into the mental health services as they are massively failing the people that need them.
“The police are often left to deal with individuals suffering with their mental health and it’s not in their remit.
“We have a massive problem with legal highs and it’s very difficult to police. But we need to look at why these people are actually taking them in the beginning and work from there.”
Anna Zamczynskyj said: “They need to be in a rehabilitation centre.
“The only way they are going to come off this is in a hospital like setting with help, support and knowledge.”
The council says their team needs a specialist outreach worker from the Addaction charity at a cost of around £40,000 plus expenses.
‘Show more compassion’
Many people commented about the lack of compassion shown to drug users in Lincoln, and that the first step to helping may be by showing them some love.
Liam Atkin said: “Maybe you should focus on helping these people instead of shaming them! they are just human beings after all.”
George Tsiaklis said:
“These are just people like everyone else.
“It’s easy for people living their perfectish life to judge but they need compassion and a second chance.
Only something terrible would lead to anyone choosing this for themselves”
Jay Mozee said: “People deserve help when they are at our lowest state, not to be abandoned.
“We should be a community that supports one another, and we should pull each other up not push the weak down.”
Lots of people in the comments felt very differently. They said that drug users in the street needed to be shown tough love instead if the problem is to be fixed.
Jo Doughty said: “A few buckets of ice cold water should do the job.
“No excuse doing this in public sight!”
Stephen Adamson said: “Stop their benefits. Money that is supposed to be used for paying rent and buying food not drugs.”
Robert Olive said: “It’s like a cancer and like all cancers it needs to be cut out or it will spread.
Have another suggestion on how to tackle Lincoln’s drug problem? Let us know in the comments.