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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    The Times Digital Archive 24/08/1978
    review by Stanley Reynolds

    BRASS TACKS, the BBC2 documentary programme, did a very good piece of investigative journalism last night with a film about drug addiction in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

    The reporter was Mr. Richard Lee, formerly a chief detective superintendent, and well-known for Operation Julie. Since that big police drug haul, Mr. Lee has left the force to become a journalist. The background makes him extremely knowledgeable and judging by last night's programme he has an easy and highly professional manner as a television interviewer.

    Mr. Lee's film, THE NON-EXISTENT JUNKIES, attempted to prove, through the example of one small town, that the Home Office figures on the number of heroin addicts are not true. The Home Office says there are only 2,000. Aylesbury is said to have no heroin addicts. Mr. Lee went there and found 15. If this were representative then Britain would have 20,000 junkies, ten times the Home Office figure.

    A doctor in a clinic in Birmingham agreed with Mr. Lee's estimate. However, neither the Home Office nor the Thames Valley police would comment. Mr. Lee said he had given them ample time to make a statement. Meanwhile, an American drug expert with headquarters in Paris told Mr. Lee the heroin problem in Britain seemed to be growing and would not reach a peak for five years.

    These were the statistics of the film. But the story was told in human terms. Mr. Lee went to Aylesbury and filmed five young junkies, all in their early twenties. They had started taking drugs in their teens. They were addicted, and they stole to pay �20, �30 or even �40 a day to buy drugs. All were gruesomely scarred with needle marks. Sad figures, they had taken heroin out of curiosity and now found their lives unmanageable.

    All wished to stop, but because officially the problem does not exist, there was little or no help for them.

    Watching Mr. Lee's haunted junkies, wandering about looking for drugs, was all the more horrific because they were playing the scenes in front of the peaceful, indeed beautiful backdrop of picturesque Aylesbury.

    It was interesting to learn that Mr. Lee thinks he can do more as a journalist than as a policeman, and perhaps ironic that on his first film he should encounter police silence.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    I'm hoping a Brass Tacks collector has this pioneering documentary about the lives of heroin addicts.

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