A DRUGS summit in Gourock has been hailed a success after locals turned out to voice their opinions on the war against narcotics.

The event in Gourock’s Gamble Halls was organised by Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan in a bid to gauge people’s opinions about what needs to be done to tackle substance addiction.

It featured a representative from campaign group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) group and the night focused on examining current drugs policies and suggesting different ways of tackling the problem nationally and locally.

Around 60 people turned out from different charities and community groups as well as Inverclyde councillors and members of the public.

Mr Cowan said: “The Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) event in the Gamble Halls was a tremendous opportunity to listen to some great speakers who are well versed in drug addiction issues and their range of knowledge complemented each other.

“The audience was well informed and represented a wide range of Inverclyde society. 

“The war on drugs is by necessity a world-wide campaign.

“The decriminalised cocaine consumed without criminal consequences in Portugal is still supplied by the gangs who cut off heads in Colombia.

“But there are paths open to us in the UK that we have a duty to explore.

"There are a number of policies within UK politics that we have made changes to and modified aspects of but what is required is a whole new approach.

“I believe drug enforcement is one of these areas.

“When the people who have been most affected and the people that have been enforcing the current system are both saying this is not working, then we must respect their opinions and take time to listen and learn.”

The two-hour event included speeches and a number of questions from the floor, answered by a panel chaired by Mr Cowan and which featured Alex Nicol, service manager of local support group Moving On Inverclyde, Jim Duffy from LEAP and Stephen Malloy of the International Network of People Who Use Drugs.  

Also at the top table was Joleen Crawford, of Anyone’s Child – a group composed of bereaved family members who now work to reform drug laws from a unique and personal perspective.