PUBLIC SECT0R: Govt considers PR help for drugs message

Talks are taking place between two Government departments on whether to hire PR agency support for a campaign warning young people of the dangers of class A drugs such as ecstasy.

The campaign, which is set to launch in January with PR co-ordinated by the Home Office and the Department of Health, aims to target all young people.

A Government source confirmed that 'discussions are taking place as to what may happen', adding that hiring external PR support was an option.

The Department for Education and Skills is also involved, to assist on communicating messages of the campaign through schools.

Last week it was revealed that the ad support for the campaign had already been decided, with agency Mother being handed the account.

A key focus of the campaign is to raise awareness of the various sources of information which are available, such as the National Drugs Helpline, to parents, young people and care workers.

Media relations activity will also promote an updated government drug strategy understood to focus on links between class A drug use and crime.

The Home Office side of the campaign is being co-ordinated by the department's crime reductions and drugs desk, headed by James Sorene. He confirmed that details of the PR campaign were still at the discussion stage.

The Government had pledged in the summer to launch a major educational campaign surrounding class A drugs. This came at the same time as Home secretary David Blunkett announced plans to downgrade cannabis from class B to class C.

An exclusive survey for PRWeek by NOP at the time found widespread public criticism of current Government communication on the issue (PRWeek, 19 July).

Previous Government drugs awareness campaigns have included the Know The Score campaign.

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