YOU highlighted a “miracle cure for drug addiction in Scotland”, the revisiting of neuro-electric therapy (NET) a form of acupuncture pioneered in the 1970s by Scottish surgeon Dr Meg Patterson ("Bid to trial miracle cure for drug addiction in Scotland", The Herald, January 25). It is claimed that for many addicts of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, this treatment removes completely their cravings for their drug of choice. Like all such treatment breakthroughs NET will not be available to Scotland’s thousands of addicts until extensive testing and blind testing is completed to satisfy the medical profession that it is safe, effective and cost effective. I have little doubt that it may prove to be very useful for many who struggle with their addictions.

However, what has been clear for the decades that I and others have worked in this field is that supporting people to stop using a drug is only one part of the equation. Assisting people to address why they became addicted is very much more difficult than becoming drug-free. Millions of us have been self-medicating since at least our teens on legal and illicit drugs to cope with stress, low mood, depression, grief, abandonment, abuse of all sorts, loneliness and broken relationships.

The tobacco and alcohol industries are now acknowledged by governments across the world as the legal source of our biggest group of addicts. The vaping industry is now adding to that sorry state, as governments and the medical profession have been conned into believing the lie that vaping will lead tobacco addicts to quitting their craving for nicotine.

The truth is that the vaping industry is picking up the slack of nicotine addiction that was lost by public health campaigns to the tobacco industry.

Hopefully more up to date research will find that NET is a very useful tool to address addictions, of all sorts, perhaps even gambling addiction? None of these ways of supporting people whose lives are blighted by drug use will succeed unless governments are prepared to invest massively more in mental health provision, for children, young people and adult – preventing people from turning to all forms of drugs to cope with the stresses and problems of living in today’s chaotic world. That is about public education on how to improve our mental health. It is also about the medical profession being given access to many more resources such as psychological services, counselling of all sorts to help patients to do more to avoid dependence on powerful drugs, which so often trap people in years of addictions and misery.

Your editorial read “Scotland must take action on drugs crisis” (The Herald, January 25). Yes it must, but we need innovation, we need to have the courage to say no to the profiteering from tobacco, alcohol, E-cigarettes and over-prescribed medications and remedies, not just continue blaming the drug barons for doing what the legal purveyors of drugs have done for centuries – profit from human weaknesses by providing a drug to sort all our problems.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow G12.