Film ID:
YFA 4573

DRUGS

1980

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film simulates a drugs raid and all subsequent operations involved in bringing narcotic abusers to justice. Made by the West Yorkshire Metropolitan police, the film initially shows a discotheque attended by youths. After being broken up by a police raid, the offenders are arrested and the resulting evidence is taking to a laboratory for scientific testing. The advancements in drugs testing practices are the crux of the film, and the films intentions are to demonstrate the effectiveness of such modern procedures.

The film opens in a discotheque, where an adolescent wearing a blue shirt sits in a chair (looking intoxicated) as he smokes a large cigarette, while people dance in the background wearing hip 1970s fashions. The camera pans across to show an adolescent girl in the chair beside him. She removes some pills from her a matchbox and promptly swallows the handful. The voice over states that bringing offenders, who misuse illegal substances, to justice is often a difficult task, but the cases can be strengthened by scientific intervention. There are then shots on the dance floor of teenagers looking slightly worse for wear as they dance and sing along to the music. The voiceover then goes on to note that an undercover agent is present at the disco - observing the events.

Title - Drugs. The police and the scientist.

This sequence begins with a shot of a black board that has a rudimentary floor plan of the bar chalked on. A senior investigator talks to the rows of seated officer, who listen intently. The action returns to the club; teenagers' lounge in the seating area, while others continue to dance. Officers storm in and break up the scene, hoisting some of the teenagers to the feet. A shot then captures the lead investigator addressing the youths, and several stand behind him with their arms above their heads. A few of the males are then searched. One boy attempt to discreetly discard a cigarette packet, but an officer spots him and opens the packet to find a selection of multi-coloured pills. The cigarette packet is then placed in a jiffy bag for evidence, and the adolescent has a sticker placed on his back by a constable that reads 'A1'. The sticker system is explained by voice over, remarking that it is used to provide a link between individual suspects and evidence.

A young girl wearing a maroon, velvet dress is then searched by a female investigator, who searches thoroughly - even checking the soles of her shoes. A blue sticker is then placed on her back. A male wearing sunglasses and striped shirt is searched; the officers pulls out cigarette papers, and, upon investigating his match box, discovers a small amount of cannabis resin, which is again placed in an evidence bag.

Shots then show officers orchestrating the offenders as they prepare to lead them away. The voiceover states that the suspects are separated from those who appear innocent. With many of them still holding their hands above their heads, the offenders are ushered out of the bar in an orderly line.

An investigator shines a torch into a boy's eyes, before he is turned round and marked with a white sticker, while the narrator comments on the tell-tale signs of drug abusers. Another boy is put under the torches scrutiny, before the investigators reverse their initial decision - swapping a blue sticker for a white one. There are then several close ups of teenagers eyes. A senior officer then talks to the proprietor who, smoking a cigarette, is shown the warrant that enables police to search the premises. The investigators search the bar; shots show officers moving furniture, discovering a bottle of pills on the floor, and bagging up various bits of evidence.

The next sequence opens in the police station. A shirtless adolescent is checked over by an investigator, who ask the boy to remove the rest of his clothing, and the camera zooms into the boy's legs to spare any further embarrassment. The narrator mentions the different places on the body that drugs are often secreted. Another boy enters the search area, but is quickly led out again after a few words with an inspector.

A close up shows a bottle being filled with urine, and the following shot captures the accused adolescent and investigator exiting the bathroom. One of the girls - arrested from the disco - is led to a desk occupied by three investigators wearing suits. They talk briefly before she is led away, and another boy approaches the desk; evidence confiscated from him earlier is presented, and the officers question him before taking a statement, removing the sticker and taking his details.

The opening shot in this sequence shows the filmmaker zooming out from a close up of some documents to reveal a scientist inspecting the contents of a rolled cigarette, which he then places under a microscope. Taking a small sample from the cigarette mixture, the scientist dabs it with a chemical solution, which, upon contact, produces a red smear across a white piece of paper - indicating a trace of amphetamines.

A complex testing process is next shown; the scientist dabs the contaminated solution on a card, which has several letters running along the border. He then dries the solution using a specially adapted machine (very similar to a hair dryer), before spraying it with a canister that produces an orange tinted spray. The result is then shown to camera, with the card producing red smudges, again indicating the presence of narcotics. The scientist removes pills from the cigarette packet that was confiscated earlier from a youth at the disco raid. The pills are matched to previous samples stuck to a board and pictures from an index book. The contents from a pill is then placed in a petri dish, and slowly mixed with a chemical solution, which the scientist adds using a pipette.

A sample is taken and placed into a pastel green machine, which then gives a read out of the different levels of substances the sample contains. More complex chemistry work takes place, with the scientist making a compound of different substances taken from glass bottles, and again placing the compound into a different machine, which has a scale that moves up to ten, before gradually moving back down. Two identical pink pills are then laid out a piece of card, and close ups show other pills. A close up chemistry bottle shows a label that reads 'Van Urk's Reagent', and in the following shot the bottle is attached to a canister and sprayed across a sample card, with the resultant chemical reaction causing a colour pigmentation.

Title - Observations.

The filmmaker zooms into the eyes of a bearded man wearing spectacles.

Title - Preparation.

Shot of the black board with the bar floor plan on it.

Title - Search Warrant.

Close up of a search warrant document.

Title - Briefing.

Shots of officers being talked through the operation.

Title - Organised raid.

A shot shows the raid at the disco.

Title - Methodical search.

Shots of an inspector searching an adolescent male.

Title - Documentation.

Shot inside the police station of an officer holding various papers as he escorts an adolescent to a desk.

Title - The scientist.

Recapped shots from the testing sequence. The next shot shows a newspaper headline the reads, '£500 fine after drugs raid on discotheque'.

Title - Photography - Rex Matthews. Sound - Morris Smith.
Directed by - John E. Jones, Roy Smith.

Title - Commentator - Douglas J. Lock. Made on co-operation with N.E. Forensic science laboratory.

Title - The end.