Drug tester Altrix launches PA push

Warrington-based Altrix Healthcare, one of the biggest oral drug-testing laboratories in Europe, has hired two agencies for a government and media relations offensive in the wake of the announcement of a Drugs Bill in the Queen’s Speech.

Altrix, which uses oral tests and swabs to screen for drugs and infectious diseases, has hired Edelman’s public affairs arm to handle a comms programme aimed at government figures, with Manchester-based agency Citypress handling media relations.

The Drugs Bill will allow police to test people arrested for minor crimes for the first time and will also seek to force addicts into a treatment programme.

Altrix marcoms manager Steve Nurdin said: ‘We need to get active at government level and influence government thinking on drug testing as we think our methods really enhance drug rehabilitation programmes.’

Altrix’s oral testing technology is currently being used by the Home Office and Department of Health as well as the private sector. It is involved in more than half of all Drug Testing and Treatment Order programmes, which are offered to some offenders as an alternative to prison.

Altrix appointed Edelman and Citypress after a four-way pitch.

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