frontline 12

dot.communism | drugs and the internet

Keef Tomkinson takes a look at how the internet provides essential information in the struggle to provide an alternative to the failed “war on drugs”.

Since the establishment of the SSP the party has challenged the consensus on Scotland’s drugs problem. Exposing the reality behind the government’s spin has been essential in persuading many people that a radical new approach is necessary.

Much has been done within the party to raise awareness of the complex nature of drug use and abuse, but as ever, only part of the story can be told. That is why the internet can be such an important resource, allowing users to focus on particular issues to quickly find a range of information. The subject of drugs is no different.

Of course, for every useful site there is on cannabis there are twenty others simply discussing different ways to roll a joint, or trying to sell merchandise. Below are a few examples of where to go to find out more about differing drugs, their effects, why people take them, and what solutions to drugs misuse exist outside the corridors of Holyrood or Westminster.


Cannabis is by far the most widely used illegal drug in Scotland and it’s no coincidence that the web is full of sites dedicated to it. The UK Cannabis Internet Activists site is a comprehensive resource containing news updates on drugs laws at home and abroad, attempts to launch coffee shops in Britain, and attitudes towards the drug. There are sections covering medicinal use, cannabis culture, the stance of political parties, and the movement to get it legalised. A separate section looks at the potential industrial and commercial use of hemp and why its positive uses are being deliberately held back.

Closer to home the SSP’s Kevin Williamson provides an excellent site based around his attempts to open a Cannabis Coffee Shop in Edinburgh. again offers news updates on the liberalisation of cannabis and more importantly how it affects Kevin’s plans in Edinburgh. There is a simple Q&A piece where the Edinburgh project is explained in depth, as well as links to legal advice on possession and use of the drug.


At the heart of the SSP’s drugs policy is the aim of approaching heroin use differently. The SSP controversially believes in providing heroin on prescription for registered addicts along with a full support services. The policy is based upon a project carried out in Switzerland in the late 1990s. It can be found at and although it’s not really written for the general public you can get an idea of what the project did in stabilising user’s lives and tackling their addiction.

Heroin is not the only Class A drug in Scotland, and figures show that crack cocaine use is increasing. The internet is not bursting with sites covering this drug but provides a good starting point. Although the site is badly arranged there are a number of interesting articles about the history of crack and its effects.

While Ecstasy is still considered Class A by the state most independent observers believe that this will change sooner rather than later. is the best E-site I have come across. Like all the other sites there are news updates and a range of links, but what marks this site out are its Q&A‚s, articles, and section on the experience of taking ecstasy. The Q&A has users sending their own questions for a detailed response. The articles cover all aspects of the drug, from research to its culture, while the experiences cover good/bad times, the effects on family, problem use etc.

Know the Score?

It is worth mentioning a couple of sites, which have been set up specifically to help young people with drugs advice. The Edinburgh based project, Crew 2000 is a simple but focused site with an expansive A-Z of drugs, which offers details on their effects, legal status, and the safest way of using them. It also allows young users to share their experiences on a confidential basis. If Crew 2000 is an example to follow then the Scottish Executive’s ‘Know The Score’ site is a wretched attempt to provide a clear message. Rather than having its own content it just offers links to a variety of groups, some useful, some contradictory. In fact, it offers Scotland’s youth a link to “alternative and diversionary activities”. The link in question brings you to a bland and slogan-happy youth group.

For anyone unaware of the campaigns by the SSP and Scottish Socialist Youth to change to drugs laws then the SSY website has a concise breakdown of our activities since the first Legalise Cannabis demo in 2000.