The Government are committed to informing and warning young people about the dangers of illegal drugs, including cannabis. Through the FRANK drug information campaign, we have consistently informed young people about the risks associated with cannabis use. Information has been made available on a website (with 1,100 visits to the cannabis page a day), in leaflets and via a helpline which receives around 1,350 calls a day. The message that ‘cannabis isn’t harmless’ has been played out to young people as part of the FRANK campaign since October 2005 and information about the risks and effects associated with cannabis use continue to be a major element of the campaign through 2006-07.
Over the last 12 months, a comprehensive package of communications and resources has been delivered:
Around 25,000 cannabis information leaflets have been distributed to young people and their parents every month in 2006. In October 2006, three new leaflets were published with the clear message that cannabis is not harmless, it can affect mental health and contribute to the risk of schizophrenia. To date over 400,000 leaflets have been distributed.
New radio, TV and online advertising introduced from July 2006 carried strong messages to young people that cannabis can have an impact on mental health as well as having more immediate effects.
The Home Office, DfES and Department of Health have worked together with other key stakeholders to develop a drug education resource for pupils aged 11 to 14 and their teachers.
The pupil book, that accompanies the pack, provides young people with information about those drugs which research indicates they are most likely to encounter, including cannabis.
Working with the Department of Health we have produced a Mental Health pack that has been available to all mental health professionals since October 2006, highlighting the dangers of cannabis use and what can be done to tackle the problem.
The Home Office part funded the charity ‘Young Minds’ to produce a mental health leaflet for young people which was launched in November 2006.
In addition, DfES has also worked with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to produce the joining forces pack which provides guidance for police working in schools and colleges in relation to drugs.