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Innovative new advertising campaign to highlight the risks of taking cocaine

Innovative new advertising campaign to highlight the risks of taking cocaine

HOME OFFICE News Release (215/2008) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 4 December 2008

A new hard-hitting £1million TV and online FRANK advertising campaign which shows the dangers of cocaine use was unveiled today by the Government.

The campaign is centred on "Pablo the drug mule dog", who died as he was being used to smuggle cocaine into the country. Waking from the dead, he goes on a mission to find out the truth about the risks and consequences of taking the drug. The adverts, which launch tonight on Channel 4, satellite channels and online are aimed at 15-18 year olds and signpost young people to the FRANK website http://www.talktofrank.com.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said:

"The new hard-hitting adverts emphasise that the harms caused by cocaine can be wide-ranging. Taking cocaine can have serious consequences, legally and socially, as well as from a health and environmental point of view.

"While cocaine use among young people has remained stable and the number of seizures of the drug has increased by more than a third, we want young people thinking about using cocaine to be aware of the damage it causes to themselves, their families, the wider community and the environment.

"Young people need to be aware of the dangers and FRANK is the ideal messenger for this as an established and trusted service."

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said:

"There's a darker side to using cocaine which this campaign exposes. Addiction, personality change and the risk of heart attacks - even at a young age - can ruin the health and lives of cocaine users and their families."

Children and Young People's Minister Delyth Morgan said:

"Many young people wrongly associate cocaine with celebrities and success, so it's really important that this new FRANK campaign gives a more balanced view. This campaign will help make young people aware of the risks and harms of cocaine use by unravelling the 'false truths' of the drug.

"The FRANK helpline offers confidential and non-judgemental advice for all young people on drugs. This campaign will encourage young people to find out the fact about cocaine."

Approximately 80 per cent of the cocaine used in the UK comes from Colombia, where increased production of the drug is driving armed violence, kidnapping, terrorism, use of illegal landmines and having a devastating environmental impact through deforestation and water contamination.

The Government supports the Colombian Government's 'Shared Responsibility' campaign to demonstrate the devastating environmental impact of cocaine production, fuelled by the demand for cocaine here in the UK.

Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos Calderon said:

"Cocaine is a silent environmental catastrophe. Over the past 20 years, a rainforest double the size of Wales has been lost in Colombia and Peru to produce cocaine. Each time someone in the UK consumes one gram of cocaine, they become responsible for the destruction of 4 square metres of rainforest. Anyone living a "green" lifestyle should consider the environmental impact of consuming cocaine, which is not a victimless drug."

FRANK will also launch a new action pack to help those working with young people to understand the complexity of issues surrounding cocaine and how they can link their work to the new campaign. Full of information, facts and statistics and activity ideas, it explains what the law says, why cocaine is a problem and the dangers associated with its use.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The adverts will be broadcast for the first time tonight on Channel 4 at 10.15pm. They will continue to be broadcast during programming that tightly targets our 15-18 year old audience until the beginning of January. Digital advertising will run concurrently on a range of social networking, lifestyle and gaming sites. To preview the TV and digital advertising visit: http://www.talktofrank.com/cocaine/pr. The ID is TTF_PR_User and the password is Pablo101. To view the online adverts and content go to http://www.talktofrank.com

2. The TV and digital advertising follows the journey of Pablo - a dead dog - who wakes up to find he's been used as a drug mule to smuggle cocaine into the country. He then sets off to find out the truth about the drug that led to his demise. He does this by questioning the key players from the world of cocaine - the dealer, the user, a bag of cocaine, a heart, a nostril and a bank note. They reveal how using cocaine can seriously harm individuals and communities; from addiction, heart attacks and personality change, to bringing fear and violence to neighbourhoods.

3. The Government's new drug strategy Drugs: protecting families and communities was published in February 2008 and can be found at http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/publication-search/drug-strategy/drug-strategy-2008

4. The latest drug prevalence statistics from the British Crime Survey can be found at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hosb1308.pdf

5. FRANK is the national drugs information service provided by the Home Office, the Department for Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on drugs, 24 hours a day throughout the year via a helpline on 0800 77 66 00, or online at http://www.talktofrank.com.

6. Earlier this year the FRANK campaign celebrated its fifth anniversary and in September the helpline received its two millionth phone call.

7. To support the campaign FRANK has produced a cocaine information pack for professionals to extend the campaign to local audiences. Order at http://www.drugs.gov.uk

8. The FRANK action pack can be downloaded from http://www.drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/

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