Big city battle comes to the Lakes

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IN BARROW, they are now adopting methods of coping with drugs normally only seen in places with large inner-city areas such as Glasgow and Liverpool.

High street chemists are dispensing the heroin substitute methadone, while counselling has been widened and drastically increased among the drugs support groups. There are also fears that dealing in drugs is taking place in the area's schools.

Unlike major cities, there are not the pubs and clubs in Barrow through which drugs are sold. Instead it is far less visible, distributed through a network of known houses, while pills such as ecstasy are readily available at parties, as are cannabis and amphetamines.

Barry, 16, is a trainee chef and ex-addict. He was a user who asked for help with his psychological addiction to cannabis, speed and ecstasy. He moved from a broken family home in Manchester to a children's home in Carlisle when he was 14 and is now undergoing peer counselling, a new initiative introduced by the Cumbria Alcohol Advisory Service (Cadas) to help young addicts who mistrust older people.

He said he had been introduced to Cadas by a youth worker on the Practical Alternatives to Crime scheme. "I got sick of being dependent on drugs. I couldn't do anything without them. I couldn't even go to sleep without taking something. I got sick of being in and out of prison cells for stealing and possession of drugs."

Esther Leach