SCOTLAND must realise that ritual and satanic abuse is a very real and

growing problem whatever the outcome of the Orkney inquiry, a child

abuse expert warned in Glasgow yesterday.

American Dr Judianne Densen-Gerber, an authority on ritualistic abuse

and the link with alcohol and drug use, told the International Congress

on Drug and Alcohol Dependence that these types of abuses were

increasing worldwide. Her studies have found that alcohol or drug

dependency has been present in patients involved in the abuses.

Dr Densen-Gerber, 57, a forensic psychiatrist, doctor, and lawyer,

said the problem was particularly acute in America. She described some

of the patients she has treated over the years, including a Yale

University student who she said had eaten three of her children on a

cult altar.

For anyone in the audience who might have thought satanism did not

exist, she said the taxi driver who brought her to the Royal Concert

Hall yesterday had claimed to be a satanist.

''The taxi driver asked me on the way over what I was talking about

and when I told him he said: 'I'm a practising satanist.' So don't tell

me there aren't any because I was driven here by one.''

Dr Densen-Gerber said later: ''There is no question that in the

Western world we have an increase in ritualistic, satanic crime.''

She said there were many reasons for the rise, including the feelings

of powerlessness stemming from a recession. ''In time of recession we

have an increase of Ku Klux Klan activity and it is very easy to go from

the Klan mentality to ritualism.''

She said some of her patients had been members of a 3000-strong coven,

two large cults were known to have their headquarters in Geneva and

Venice, and some cults were believed to have targeted day-care

institutions in the US.

''We're not talking about small groups. They are highly organised with

dual ministries, often fronted behind more traditional religions.''

She said one particularly worrying aspect of satanism and ritual abuse

throughout the world was the similarity between rituals.

Dr Densen-Gerber said she has been following the Orkney allegations

very closely and was looking forward to studying the report.

The conference was also told yesterday that Scotland's level of

services for alcoholics was an international disgrace.

Mr Peter McCann, chairman of the country's largest treatment clinic at

Castle Craig in Peebleshire, said the Government and health boards would

have to carry out a radical re-appraisal of specialist services to bring

them to levels enjoyed in other parts of the world.

He warned the Scottish Office that services would need to be expanded

quickly if they were to meet their target of reducing Scottish

alcoholism deaths by the year 2000.

Mr McCann said Scotland had 390 specialist beds including those in the

private and charitable sector. This compares to 2620 beds in Norway and

952 beds in Alberta where the problem is similar to Scotland, but the

population is half the size.

Delegates will hear today how drug addicts in 12 cities throughout the

world, including Glasgow, are flouting safe sex guidelines. The study

found that most addicts in all of the cities were sexually active but

did not wear condoms.

The conference will also study the link between substance abuse and

crime, and will hear how Japan has managed to control abuse.