South West Wales

Police campaign targets Swansea heroin dealers

Heroin needles abandoned
Image caption Police said Swansea had a significant heroin problem

Heroin dealers are being targeted in a new campaign to highlight what police call the drug's devastating impact in Swansea.

The Heroin Ruins Lives Campaign aims to raise awareness of the effects on addicts, families, and the community.

Swansea Drugs Project said the number of heroin addicts seeking help in the city had risen by 40% in the past year.

There have been 61 drug-related deaths in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot since 2007.

Police have urged people to pass on information, particularly about dealers.

The campaign features a powerful poster and flyer depicting the headstone of a dead heroin user.

Police said they were fighting back, and had caught a number of dealers and suppliers.

Det Insp Jason Davies of South Wales Police, who is leading the campaign, said Swansea was recognised as having a significant heroin problem, which made it vulnerable to organised gangs.

He said: "The purpose of the project is to raise awareness of the impact heroin has on the user, those closest to them and the community as a whole.

"Without the support of the community we are often one step behind in the fight against heroin supply and those closest to the user are often best placed to provide information on the supply networks."

South Wales Police said they had detected 188 drug trafficking offences in the city between September 2010 and 2011, compared to 91 for the same period the previous year.

Meanwhile, in the past 18 months more than £1.2m worth of class B drugs have been seized, while since April 2010 more £500,000 worth of class A drugs have been recovered.

Police said prison sentences totalling more than 200 years had been handed down for drug trafficking since April 2010, while 13 organised groups had been caught supplying heroin in Swansea.

Ifor Glyn of Swansea Drugs Project said: "Heroin misuse is one of the biggest problems facing communities in Swansea.

"The number of deaths over the years is shocking and the cost to families and friends unbearable.

"As an agency we have been seeing an increase in the numbers seeking help because of heroin misuse for a number of years with an increase of 40% in the last year.

"If this initiative helps reduce the harm caused by heroin to users, their families, children and the community in general, it should be supported."

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