Cocaine on the rise in Shetland, forum hears

NHS Shetland say that they are “certainly aware” of increasing levels of cocaine use in Shetland.

This came from NHS Shetland Elizabeth Robinson, who made the comments at a joint meeting of the council’s licensing board and the local licensing forum.

While discussing a recent NHS Scotland report which explored Scotland’s relation to alcohol misuse, Ms Robinson said that while it was clear to the NHS that “young people are definitely drinking less” in Shetland, they were also “aware of increased levels of cocaine use”.

She continued that they were noticing a surge in the usage of the drug in combination with alcohol, and warned that you can “create some very dangerous substances” when you combine the two.

“Alcohol is the gateway drug,” she said.

“It leads to people using other drugs.”

In response to a question from councillor Ian Scott about its use, and the use of alcohol, potentially being linked to those in deprived areas, Ms Robinson responded to say that: “Cocaine is actually a really expensive drug compared to cannabis or even heroin”.

An eighth of an ounce, approximately 3.5 grammes, of cocaine would fetch a street price somewhere between £150 to £180, she added.

This, Ms Robinson said, suggested that “people are only using it in very small amounts or they have a lot of money to spend”.

A recent survey into drug and alcohol misuse from the Shetland Alcohol and Drug Partnership found that cocaine was the third highest drug of concern for Shetlanders, behind alcohol and heroin, with many expressing concern about a perceived increase in usage among young people.

More in this Friday’s edition of The Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • Anthony Gilfillan

    • September 24th, 2019 12:06

    The low amount of job opportunities for young adults and of course, anything to do after job hours unless like me you’re content to sit in and video game all day. There’s really only one choice. Go out and get drunk or high.

    As much as I would like to blame Alcohol for the drug problems in Shetland. There are a lot of alcoholics after all. I just don’t think that’s accurate. To blame alcohol is to take the easy way out. So you don’t have to work out what the real problems are.

    Consider that people are generally left without anything to do. When I tell people down south about things we don’t have up here, they seldom ever believe me. Drinking is the thing to do here and for some, doing drugs is the thing to do. The two are linked, definitely, but one does not cause the other. The problem lies elsewhere.

    • Ali Inkster

      • September 26th, 2019 15:29

      So what exactly don’t we have that your friends down south can’t believe?

      • Anthony Gilfillan

        • September 26th, 2019 18:51

        I asked around just to make sure and took note of a few places that sounded ridiculous to friends that we don’t have.

        Chain restaurants, McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Etcetera. Mexicans, Italians, Sushi Bars. Vegetarian / Vegan restaurants. Pizza Delivery. (Without having to rely on taxi’s to deliver)
        A bowling alley, ice skating rink, arcade, carnival type games. Snooker Clubs. Comic stores. Craft stores. (Not just knitting) Record shop (For those Including myself, who miss Clives)
        Lidl, Aldi, B&Q, Homebase, Primemark. (High street shops)
        A tavern that isn’t loud music and crowds. Drinks and conversation, potentially food.
        Need I list more? I could spam this whole webpage with more. But I think I’ve made myself clear.

        Typically I suspect the reason that half of these things aren’t in Shetland due to a lack of demand or popularity. Most people are content to drink very heavily, bringing us back to the problem stated in the article.

      • Ali Inkster

        • October 1st, 2019 1:46

        That has to be the most pathetic list of excuses for taking drugs that I’m ever heard.

    • David Spence

      • September 26th, 2019 18:43

      I really don;t understand this comment at all. The facilities here compared to living “south” (Aberdeen for example) are second to none! There are innumerable sports events pretty much every night, masses of music to attend or join in with, gigs and concerts everywhere. So many different groups from knitting to wakeboarding to meet up with, not to mention the incredible variety of outdoor pursuits.

      As for employment, it is recruitment that is the problem here, not lack of jobs! Just look around!

      The biggest reason for any perceived alcohol issue here (honestly, spend a week in any town south and you will see what real alcohol issues are!) is that people have so little time to drink they tend to go for it too hefty when they do get a chance.

  • Anthony Gilfillan

    • September 27th, 2019 14:01

    I definitely agree that there’s a lot to do, if you like sports. There’s a lot of alcoholism in a lot of peoples families, mine included. It’d be nice to see less of that. By percentage of how many people are in Shetland, there are a lot of alcoholics. If Shetland were a bigger place with this percentage it would be a huge cause for concern.

    But because you’re content to exercise in the gym and do sports, I guess those issues don’t really exist to you. For people who aren’t athletic or into sports, there’s not a huge amount of options. I know the general idea is that “you can’t please everyone”… But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

    I’d also like to note that those music events you mentioned are often filled with vast amounts of drinking.

  • John Oakes

    • September 27th, 2019 22:29

    “Alcohol is a gateway for Drugs”. Please try a little bit harder next time. Cocaine was normally attributed to wealthy clients, such as the Yuppies snorting to their hearts burst content. The value was determined by chemicals to produce and export from Columbia via America and buddy criminals importing. Your AVERAGE Yoof today drink alcohol because the licensing laws allow retailers to sell everywhere. My city of Manchester a village outside the M25 Border of London Europe, have more issues with SPICE, Skunk, houses been sold as let converted to Cannabis farms. If your island Yoof are using Cocaine then it imported via ferries planes fishing vessels by another major dealer in Scotland fair cities. Another bonus is the Yoof down here are used as county mules for criminals to spread the myriad of drugs. What should be done is stamp hard on drug dealers and starve the access each time. In other words Dealer does 10 or 20 years in clink. If Alcohol was a gateway to drugs then by all account virtually every drinker of the dreaded booze would be zombified from the caves. Sorry 2/10 and I am being generous.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 28th, 2019 19:13

    Is Anthony Gilfillan describing a cluster of islands somewhere north of Scotland or is he describing Heaven ? I imagine God has not given planning permission for any of those things. —- not even a golf course to entertain Mr Trump , God’s right hand man.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 28th, 2019 19:29

    David Spence is absolutely right. Glasgow is not renowned for its sobriety and booze, drugs and criminality are prevalent in most cities, towns and even villages south of the border. I know because it is happening right now and causing Britain to be a degraded nation state. At least Shetland , from what I’ve seen of it, is civilised in spite of occasional mishaps. Enjoy and value what’s there rather than yearn for the very things that plague those who live and grind out their lives elsewhere.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • October 1st, 2019 12:27

    Roughly thirty years ago, as a taxi driver in Shetland, I drove two bank managers home from a retirement do. Pillars of the community. They strongly agreed that had the range of illegal drugs available in the 1990s been around when they were in their youth they would have tried everything going.

    The reasons why people take drugs are many and varied. Local circumstances play a part. There are group factors and individual factors. Some people have a predisposition to addictive behaviours and can go on to develop addictive personalities, though their addictions may change over time.

    If people live in a culture where getting off your face with drink is expected it seems reasonable many may then try getting off their heads on other substances.

    The NHS is telling us alcohol is a gateway drug for some people. What reasons are there to doubt this? Were we all wishing to see less use of illegal drugs in Shetland then the collective attitude to drink might not be a bad place to start. It seems to be that drink causes more of the problems, but, for whatever reasons, that has long been a hard sell.

  • John Irvine

    • October 2nd, 2019 9:31

    Got to agree with you there Peter, you are spot on!


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.