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tv   Disclosure  BBC News  March 8, 2019 3:30am-4:00am GMT

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a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. have suffered miscarriages but were convicted of homicide. my name is mike embley. our top stories: president trump's former campaign chief is jailed for nearly 4 years, for conspiracy, money laundering and fraud, and must repay more than $24 million to the us government. now on bbc news, disclosure. britain steps up efforts to free chris clements investigates nazanin zaghari ratcliffe the reasons behind scotland's rising fromjail in iran. toll of drugs deaths. the uk government is giving her diplomatic protection. this is the story of a community in crisis. el salvador‘s supreme court frees three women who spent a decade it turned her into a monster. behind bars, accused of breaking of a generation addicted to strict abortion laws. and dying from prescription drugs. i've been there while dealing with an outbreak folk died in my house. of misinformation — facebook says it will crack down it's the story of the changing face of substance abuse... on anti—vaccine content. this xanax business, that's really quite new. and an unseen trade in deadly pills, via the internet, straight to your door. it's drugs like this that are killing people in scotland, and that's how easy it is to get ahold of it, via facebook. that's incredible. tonight, disclosure takes you behind the rising level of drug—related deaths, to those trying to stem the tide,
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and to the lives of those who are left behind. she was just gorgeous, and just bubbly, and she was the apple of everybody‘s eye in the family. she just danced the whole time, she was...from the day she was born. i think we had 16 years of kym of just pure innocence and growing up and blooming, and then itjust seems to be like... well, the only word i can say for it, it's like it turned her into a monster. sometimes she would come out, and you could maybe tell she was on something, and we used to get our hats
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and coats on, and i used to go up the fields with her and walk, and we'd walk for miles, and as i walked and walked and walked, i could see she was coming back down, and then she'd come in and have a cup of tea and eat... have something to eat and then she'd be fine. is anyone you know affected by heroin addiction? consistent with the rest of scotland, drug deaths in dumfries and galloway are increasing, which is why nhs drug and alcohol service are holding several events where people can receive training on how to recognise signs of an overdose and other potentially life—saving benefits. #let'sstopthedeathsnow. dumfries and galloway isn't necessarily an area that you would associate with drug use. it's largely rural, and parts of it are quite affluent, but in actual fact it does have its problems. just to give you a wee bit of context, in 2012, six people died here. in 2017, it was 22 — so something is happening here.
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the way people are consuming and dying from drugs here has changed. for so long, drugs like heroin were killing people. now, they're combined with lethal cocktails of pills. that'sjohn paul when he started school when he was five. that's joseph when he started school. that's christopher. why did yous move down here? to move to a better life, to get away from the city and away from the drugs and that, the drug use. little did i know that i was bringing them down to a place where they would have drugs. i thought down here they didn't have any drugs, cos it was that nice and everybody knows one another, and i soon found i was wrong.
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i knew he was taking a vast amount, but i didnae know exactly how many. ijust knew he was taking a vast amount of drugs. i kept telling him to stop it, to slow down. but he wouldnae listen. for years, john paul was taking a catalogue of prescription drugs, most of them bought illegally. one of his brothers, christopher, found him the night he died. and i went in his room and put his light on and then i go, "something's not right. " so i dropped my phone and i slapped him, and got no response. i phoned 999. they told me to get him out of bed, on the floor, to start pumping his chest until the ambulance arrived, but i knew in my heart that he was gone. so i need to be strong for my wee brother and my mum.
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both christopher and joseph are heavy pill users, including street valium. do you want to stop? can you stop? no. it's too far gone. i've been taking them fae when i was 14, 15 year old. i'm now 35. i hate taking drugs, but i have to. so do i. do you think i enjoy waking up in the morning and popping tablets? i don't. i would advise people not to touch them because it's not worth it. john paul was 36. a year on, the bedroom where he died remains virtually untouched. he was killed by a combination of powerful drugs — the painkiller dihydrocodeine,
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the heroin substitute methadone, and etizolam, also known as fake valium, a drug linked to nearly 300 deaths across scotland in 2017. it's these kinds of cocktails that are killing record numbers in the area. i'mjustin murray. i'm the service manager for the nhs addiction service. you would describe it as polysubstance use now, in that there's more than one substitute used. that's the big difference over the sort of, i would say, from five years in to this point — and the drugs that they're accessing are different drugs, as well, so, predominantly, before, it would have been iv heroin use and smoked heroin use we would have seen, but now we're seeing a lot more pill taking and things like that. how does it affect you on a personal level? it's in your community — it's right there in your face. the one thing that we are going against is the kind of moral baggage in scotland around drug deaths. who really ca res if a drug user dies? you may feel that about that individual, but that
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individual is a son, is a daughter, is a father, and other people are affected, so there's this big ripple effect when a drug death happens. so although we might say there's been ten drug deaths recently here, you think of the amount of people that those ten deaths have affected. that's cold! no! there were times she would clean up and get dry, but it would always be there. she would liven up, you know, get back to looking after her hair and her nails, and just being that girl again, and then you'd get the dip, and then that's when you would notice that it would come round, you know, so that was the big change. you had incidents where she was very violent to me. when i was in my car one day, erm, she wanted to meet me in the town, and she wanted money,
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and i said to her, i said, "kym, i'm not giving you money. i'll get you something to eat. i'll get you some food, but..." no, i didn't approve at the time of giving her money — and my car window was open, and she violently attacked me, and ripped my hair out of my head and punched me and kicked me, and ijust... i couldn't... i was so shocked that that was my own child doing that, and ijust didn't recognise her. in dumfries, we met vanessa. she's spent nearly half her life hooked on one drug or another. if you see the polis, you're driving off. interviewer laughs. oh, i've been a heroin user for years, from the age of about 22, 23.
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mm—hm. so my life's basically been prison, heroin, prison, heroin. never had a job, never worked. did nothing. basically wasted my life. do you feel that you've wasted your life? i've wasted... i have totally wasted my life. oh, i've been off heroin for about a year and a half now, but i was taking a few street tablets like pregabalin but no' anything... no' as much now because the death rates went right through the roof with the pregabalin and the valium and the xa nax. see, that's more the era now. that's what it is. it's no' the heroin — it's more tablets. so are you seeing people that you know taking them? aye. i'm seeing people dying through them. i've been there while folk has died in my house... so it's horrible. it is replacing heroin, maybe cos of the cheapness or probably the better dunt. for me, it's a... it's a better dunt, because
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the heroin nowadays, it's nothing. you don't get a dunt at all. well, i certainly don't get a dunt off it. i wouldnae waste a tenner on it. nah. i would rather have a couple of tablets, as i said, but nowadays, as i'm saying, it's getting more deaths and i'm thinking, "0h, it's about time you stopped now, va nessa . " cos, nah, there's far too many folk dying and, as i say, you don't know what's round the corner. cos i'm 39, and i've been nearly dead. i'll see you later, right? the pills vanessa's taking aren't supposed to be bought and sold on the street. most of them are prescription drugs, quite safe — and legal — if taken as meant, but here it's their abuse and mixing with other drugs that is killing people. we've got dihydrocodeine, which is a moderate painkiller. we've also got diazepam, which is a...
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it's taken for anxiety and a muscle relaxant. we've got pregabalin here and gabapentin. now, these are going to change in the way they are scheduled, and in april next year they're going to be classed as a controlled drug, and this is because they've been... you know, they've been subject to abuse. i mean, they're normally prescribed for epilepsy and also neuropathic pain. what happens is they'll take them, and rather than take them, like, maybe one twice a day, one three times a day as they're prescribed, they'll probably take half a dozen, ten at a time, and it sort of gives them the feeling of, erm, you know, relaxing them and things like that, you know, and... but that on top of taking other medication can obviously cause problems. what would happen is if they were taking, say, an opiate like methadone or heroin and then they took the pregabalin on top, their breathing would get shallower, and then they would just stop breathing.
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when you die with drugs in your system, a group of experts gets together to work out the exact cause. in december, this review group in dumfries and galloway met to discuss recent deaths in the area. we're starting to see a bigger increase in the likes of cocaine and in tablet, sort of, form medication rather than the opiate. they're still obviously getting involved in the opiate abuse. it's confirmed that all seven were killed by drugs. the commonest drug that we see, or type of drug that we see leading to death is an opiate. it's heroin or sometimes morphine, and that, again, was the case — we saw that with a lot of the cases we discussed this afternoon. another drug that, really, this is, at this meeting, it's the first time i've seen so many cases, but it's the drug xanax, which is often talked about. that's a benzodiazepine, erm, a special kind of sedative drug. it's not available
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on the nhs in the uk. it can't be prescribed by doctors here. it is available in places like the united states, and we are seeing quite a bit of it in dumfries and galloway, and it's obviously being sourced somehow on the black market, possibly via the dark web — but this xanax business, that's really quite new. we haven't seen that in dumfries and galloway before. i think i can remember maybe one or two deaths ever, previously, that involved xa nax, whereas from today, we really saw a lot — a lot more thanjust two. "i shouldn't have had to bury my son — he should have buried me." the words of a distraught dumfries father as he issues a warning." there's still a lot
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of shame around drugs. this father wanted to talk to us, but didn't want to identify himself or his son. i'm looking at an article that i wrote into the dumfries courier. ijust hoped that if my article could save one life, then my son's death won't be in vain. "i was woken up by a knock on my door at 4am by the police, "who brought me the news that my son had died of an overdose. "he was a drug user. "he was on methadone and he mixed it with xanax, "a most lethal combination. "mixing drugs is like playing russian roulette with your life. "my son is gone now, "but i want to tell this story to warn others of the dangers. "i don't want what happened to my son to happen to anyone else." i had tried to call
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her on the thursday, and i couldn't get an answer. anyway, nobody had seen her or heard from her, so i spoke with family and i said, "look, i'm going to go up tomorrow morning. "i'm going to get up tomorrow and i'm going to go and see just..." but i think, by the friday night, i sort of knew, and i thought to myself, "i think she's lying in that flat." years ago, when we were younger, only two policemen come to tell you when somebody's dead, so we just... ijust saw the lady coming herself, the policewoman, and she stopped out there, and i went to the gate, and i said, "well, she's obviously ok, then, cos there's no' two of yous," and she went, "i'm really sorry." just... i just knew. ijust cried, and... burst out crying and shouting, angry... just devastated, totally devastated.
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i'd just been talking to her a couple of days before, you know, a couple of nights before, and she kissed me and she said, "i love you, mum," and she went into the flat and i told her, just, "you know, we're here. we're just a mile away. "we're always here at the end of the phone." that was the last time she spoke. so, one of the things that we noticed when we were looking at the drug—related deaths
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in dumfries and galloway over the last couple of years was the social connections between a lot of the people. a lot of them moved in the same circles, and they all knew each other, even through social media. so we're looking at this particular chap. he's died in early 2018 from a drug overdose, we know that, erm, but then when you go to look through his friends, it's... just look at it here. it's... this guy here has died. she's dead. his brother's dead. he's dead. the guy in the picture's dead. this guy here's dead. these two guys next to each other, they're both dead — and all of them have died in the last couple of years after taking a combination of heroin or methadone and the pills, but when you see them all clustered together like that, it's quite stark.
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first base in dumfries is a support centre at the front line of this growing crisis. for 15 years, its volunteers have witnessed both the change in how drugs are being abused, and the devastating impact on the community. the most common one we now see is valium, and it's not a drug of choice, it's a drug of price. valium tends to be on sale for 50p a pill. widely on sale for 50p a pill. so, quite often, we'll see people who are on a sort of mix of methadone, which is free, care of the nhs, alcohol, the cheapest they can buy, and valium, because it's cheap — and so, the people with drug problems — and we still see plenty — are kind of invariably between the ages of 30 and 60, and they're ones who were 18, 19, when we first met
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them back in 2003. many of the same people — and, sadly, many of them are not going to walk through the door any more, cos they've gone. they've died as a result of those drug problems. how many of the people that you've dealt with over the years have passed away? it would be well over 100. it is extraordinary that, you know, we've lost so many people, and yet it's kind of almost gone unnoticed. i came to first base in about 2008. i started volunteering in the veterans' garden. i was hooked on methadone, valium and cannabis at the time. ijust decided enough was enough. i went and got clean. back in the day, when i first started, you'd have to roam the streets for maybe a couple of hours before you found what you are looking for. you don't now. go onto instagram, go onto facebook, go onto whatsapp. two minutes, i'm sorted. two minutes — and maybe another 20 minutes later, it's delivered to me. it's too simple now.
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there's a chap here called benzo king, who is, i presume, selling benzodiazepines. there's a chap on here who's posted pictures of his last batch, which was on the 15th of december, 2018. there's also a man on here called diaz aman. he's based in london, and he's posted a batch which was on the 2nd of november. all in plain sight. i can't believe that it's actually so blatant on social media like that.
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is it really that easy? we found hundreds of accounts on facebook openly advertising pills, from diazepam and pregabalin, to xanax. we made contact, and 36 hours later, a delivery arrived. so, we're just on our way to pick up a package that's been sent to us by one of the dealers that we'd been in contact with. we contacted a guy on facebook — we'd never met — and asked him to send us xanax. within 25 minutes, he agreed to send it. a day and a half later, it's in my hand. it's drugs like this that are killing people in scotland, and that's how easy it is to get ahold of it, via facebook. it's incredible.
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0ur dealer said he was 100% legit, but the same can't be said for his drugs. we had them tested. the pills were branded as xanax, but they were fake. they were actually the tranquilliser etizolam. more than 900 people were killed by drugs in scotland in 2017. nearly one third of them had ta ken etizolam, including john paul in sanquhar. so we contacted facebook and asked them to come on this programme for an interview. they've said no, but they've given us this statement. "after a thorough review, we identified and removed 11 accounts related to the contact the bbc brought to our attention, and fanned out to remove an additional 16 accounts associated with these profiles involved in similar activity."
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so that's 27 accounts. we found more than 200. facebook says there is more it can do. if the trade of drugs on social media sites is so blatant, so easy, if deadly pills can be sent straight through the post, then what can the police do about that? in recent months, we have probably taken out several thousand tablets which we suspect are xanax — and we took them out the postal system. i think it would be naive to think that the availability of drugs isnae going to increase with the advent of the internet, and it's been slowly increasing over the years. i'm very conscious that enforcement alone isnae really going to solve the problem. we've been doing that for years and years, and it is an important part of dealing with the drugs, but there's a bigger picture, you know, the unfortunate reality is that we're never going to prevent all drugs deaths. we need to try our best to reduce
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them as much as we can, but again, it would be naive to think we're going to eliminate it completely. why are you doing this today? i would just like if it helped any one family, or person, or young person that's got children, and is in this life, to think... about what it does, and the bigger scale of it all. no happy ending ever comes with a drug story. it always ends up sad. these children have lost everything through drugs, everything. and... just going through it is just your worst nightmare. for a mother orfather, sister, brother, grandparents, it's just your worst nightmare. and it's waste. a waste of life... and it's no life.
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last year, scotland recorded the highest number of drug deaths in its history, yet the world keeps turning. they shout. the drug trade carries on, taking lives with ever—greater ease. this is just one community, just one set of stories. yet today, we are more connected than ever before, and the way we consume drugs is changing. this isn't some far away place. this is probably your town.
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hello. if you thought thursday was windy, get used to it. very blustery weather on the way all the way through the weekend into next week. unsettled too, wet at times. a bit of a lull though as we start friday. frosty, but sunny for many of us, but clouding over with rain later. here's a look at the satellite picture. this area of low pressure has brought the windy weather, the wet weather in places during thursday. a bit of a gap between weather systems now. we are in that gap as friday begins, but we're in a cold gap. you can see the blue showing up where temperatures will be at their lowest as friday starts. fairly widespread frost around, bit of scraping the ice off the car, a little misty in places too. but actually a lots of sunshine for most of us at the start of the day. already a bit of wet weather though into the western isles. we see more cloud pushing across the uk during the morning
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and then further outbreaks of rain spreading from west to east as the day goes on. becoming increasingly light and patchy as it does so. and it's notjust rain, the hills of scotland, north of the central belt, will see a bit of snow out of that as well. it's not going to be as windy as thursday, though it is still breezy out there. temperatures mostly around 7—11 degrees. a bit of snowfall also into shetland before that system begins to clear away. as we go into friday night, still some showers pushing in towards the north—west of the uk on the breeze. wintry on the hills. it's not going to be as cold as friday morning, by the time we're up and about on saturday for the start of the weekend, but it is going to be an unsettled one, with low pressure close by all the time. the atlantic in charge of the weather, pushing in disturbances occasionally. at the very least that means we're going to be getting some showers, carried on strong to gale—force winds. it will make it feel quite cold, even though temperatures will not be too far from average. some wet weather at times, notjust in the form of rain but some snow, more especially on hills, but also some sunshine occasionally too. the best of the sunshine will be across the east and south—east of the country during saturday.
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showers already towards the north—west will push further east during the day. it will be a windier day once again. we are expecting gusts fairly widely of around 40—50 miles an hour, and that will make it feel colder than these temperatures might suggest. and some of these showers might merge to give longer spells of wet weather at times. still plenty of showers coming in during sunday and there is a more wintry component to these showers, so we could well see some sleet or some hail to lower levels out of these as well. again, it's going to be windy. these are average speeds, but gusts will be around 40—50 miles an hour once again. temperatures are a little lower on sunday, so it will feel even colder in that wind. that's your forecast.
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