Operation Goal: Borders drugs fight enters second phase
A drugs operation which has seen more than 50 people charged in the Scottish Borders is entering a new phase.
Operation Goal was launched in July to remove individuals involved in street-level drug dealing from communities.
Officers carried out raids in Galashiels, Hawick, Melrose, Selkirk and Kelso over a six-week period.
Lothian and Borders Police said that after the enforcement stage of the operation they now intended to look at "diversion and intervention".
A total of 54 people have been charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act following the first phase of the action.
Seven are now serving custodial sentences and a series of trials are expected to start at the end of the month.
The second phase of the operation will see police visit schools throughout the region to discuss the consequences of becoming involved in drug crime.
Joint presentations with NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council will encourage children to ask any questions or raise any concerns about the issue.
A range of specialist support services will also be made available.
Det Ch Insp Amanda McGrath, who is leading the operation, said: "Operation Goal is a long-term project to not only minimise, but eradicate the scourge of drugs within Scottish Borders communities.
"However, tackling the root problems associated with drugs goes much deeper than just removing the dealers from the community."
She said it was essential to "educate and deter the public from substance abuse as early as possible".
Council leader David Parker said the authority was pleased with the results of the operation.
Dr Eric Baijal, director of public health for NHS Borders, added: "The message is simple.
"If you or your family are involved in substance misuse, this is an opportunity to change your life.
"Help is available and there is a range of confidential support services available for adults and young people across the Borders who wish to seek help for a drug problem."