Government 'must do more' to prevent youth drug addiction

Major drugs charities have voiced cautious approval of the Home Office's new drugs awareness campaign, but say that more needs to be done to stop young people becoming addicts.

The £3 million FRANK campaign will supply young people with credible information about the risks of drug use, and is the largest government youth drugs campaign since the "Just Say No" initiative in the 1980s, which was widely considered to have been ineffective.

The three-year programme, which is jointly funded by the Home Office and the Department of Health, targets parents, young people and carers, and uses television and print advertising to promote a new drugs telephone helpline and information web site (www.talktofrank.com).

Rosie Brocklehurst, director of communications at Addaction, believes that the project will help charities be more effective in their work with children and drugs.

"This is an extremely important campaign focusing on young people and class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin," she said.

Roger Howard, chief executive at DrugScope, welcomed the campaign, but said more was needed to be done tackle the issue.

"There is evidence that information campaigns alone will not change young people's behaviour," he said.

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