Britain warns against dangers of drug offences overseas

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is launching a campaign, in conjunction with Prisoners Abroad, to highlight the consequences of drug use, abuse and smuggling by British nationals around the world. Hundreds of Brits are at present in prison abroad for drug related offences, often detained without trial.

Prisoners Abroad, a charity that supports British nationals imprisoned overseas and their families, is currently helping 84 Brits between the ages of 18 and 30 imprisoned for drug offences. 62 are still waiting trial.

In Italy nine British nationals were arrested on drug-related charges between April 2012 and March 2013, a 29 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period. In exceptional cases offenders in Italy may be held on remand for over a year without trial.

Will Middleton, the British consular director for southern Europe says: “Being sent to prison overseas away from family and friends is very distressing and even more so if you don’t speak the language. We see people of all ages - from youngsters through to pensioners - who have lost their friends, their job, had to give up their studies or had their children taken into care and got into major financial difficulties because they did not think they would get caught. If you or someone you know is involved with illegal drugs in any way, then the message is clear: the consequences are simply not worth it.”

Two British subjects – Terry Daniels (imprisoned for drugs offences in Spain) and Billy Burton (charged with drug offences in the Philippines) – describe just what can happen very graphically on this video called false;" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqtWoNBk4GQ&feature=youtu.be">Drugs: Mess up, miss out.

According to a Foreign Office report on figures for consular assistance abroad from April 2012 to March 2013 although total drug related arrests decrease over the previous 12-month (from a total of 816 to 653) they increased in the United States, Greece, the United Emirates, Portugal, India, China, the Philippines, Italy and Pakistan.