Home Secretary to target children with anti-drug ads

Jacqui Smith, the new Home Office minister, is considering plans to target primary school children in an anti-drugs advertising campaigns.

The plans form part of a three-month consultation document “Drugs: Our Community, Your Say” unveiled today (Wednesday) to overhaul the Drug Strategy.

The Home Office has also suggested using shock tactics in future drug information advertising and education programmes. Smith plans to double the £5.65m invested annually in the Frank awareness campaign.

The department believes that although the Frank campaign has achieved “some success”, chiefly among its target group of 11 to 18-year-olds and focusing on Class A drug and cannabis use, other groups are overlooked.

The consultation document outlines “potential” for using public health campaigns to address aspects of drug harm falling outside the Frank activity. These include information campaigns about alcohol targeted at under 18s with the aim of deterring future drug users.

The department believes that highlighting the dangers of volatile substance abuse – such as sniffing glue or aerosols – “needs” to form an integral part of all public health and education campaigns and admits that parents are a key audience for messages because they have a huge influence over their children.

It suggests harm reduction information and advice for problem drug users – advice traditionally delivered by non-government organisations and charities – can be tackled by Home Office campaigns and says that more national advertising campaigns could be targeted around lifestyle groups such as clubbers.

The current Drug Strategy, which claims to have delivered a 24% decline in drug use among young people since 1998, will end in March next year.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here