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Drugs: Advisory Services

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have used the Talk to Frank helpline in each year since it was set up. (150371)

The number of children who have contacted the Talk to Frank Helpline from 2004-05 are shown in the following table.

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Total

Under 16

4,237

5,917

4,444

14,598

16 to 25

11,629

14,136

14,974

40,739

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the reasons for calls to the Talk to Frank helpline, broken down by substance abuse type. (150372)

From April 2006 to March 2007, the main reason (72.60 per cent.) for calls to the Talk to Frank helpline was to ask for information on individual substances. This reflects an increase of 6.3 per cent. compared to 2005-06. Further details of caller requirements are contained in the following table.

Caller requirements

Percentage

Information given

72.60

National referral

14.24

Local referral

6.33

Literature

5.78

Campaign specific

0.67

Query complaint

0.38

Of the calls requesting information, queries on Cannabis accounted for the majority of calls. They ranged from simple questions about the effects and general usage to more complex queries regarding the link between cannabis use and mental health. These queries were a result of increased media attention.

Cocaine was the second most frequently discussed topic. Again these ranged from simple questions about the effects and risks of taking cocaine to more complex queries on how to cut down/reduce intake, and drug detection/testing.

Further details showing a breakdown on individual substance/topic are contained in the following table.

Information advice topic

Percentage

Cannabis general

20.51

Cocaine

14.77

Drugs (not specific)

13.38

Heroin

8.76

Drug detection and testing

6.48

Other

6.45

Ecstasy

4.65

Amphetamines

3.17

Crack

3.13

Mental health-related

2.72

Alcohol

2.33

Methadone

1.98

Legal-related

0.88

Information on FRANK

0.86

Misuse of other drugs

0.74

Volatile substances

0.74

Detoxification

0.73

Other Opiates

0.73

Anabolic Steroids

0.68

Ketamine

0.68

LSD

0.62

Cannabis reclassification

0.50

Pregnancy-related

0.50

Medicinal use of drugs

0.44

Other benzodiazepines

0.44

Alkyl nitrates

0.36

Hallucinogenic mushrooms

0.34

Tobacco

0.30

Crystal Meth/Methamphetamine

0.30

Sexual behaviour-related

0.28

GHB

0.27

Temazepam

0.24

Rohypnol

0.20

Hepatitis C

0.14

Employment-related (other than testing)

0.13

Financial-related

0.12

HIV-related

0.10

Herbal highs

0.10

Housing-related

0.07

PCP

0.06

Viagra

0.05

Ice

0.04

Khat

0.03

April 2006 to October 2006

Information/advice given

Percentage

Cannabis

30.60

Cocaine

20.63

Drugs (not specific)

11.85

Heroin

8.54

Ecstasy

6.16

Amphetamines

3.36

Alcohol

3.31

Crack

3.27

Other

2.76

Methadone

1.28

Ketamine

0.93

Prescription Drugs

0.79

Anabolic Steroids

0.65

LSD

0.64

Volatile Substances

0.62

Alkyl Nitrates

0.56

Crystal Meth/Methamphetamines

0.50

Subutex

0.47

Valium/Diazepam

0.43

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

0.38

GHB

0.36

Other Opiates

0.35

Misuse of other drugs

0.30

Herbal Highs

0.24

Other Benzodiazepines

0.24

Tobacco

0.18

Hepatitis C

0.13

Temazepam

0.13

Rohypnol

0.12

Viagra

0.10

PCP

0.06

Khat

0.04

Naltrexene

0.04

November 2006 to March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost has been of the Talk to Frank helpline since inception. (150373)

The Talk to Frank helpline is run as part of a pooled service that includes Know the Score, Drinkline, Sexual Health Line and Hepatitis C Information Line. This allows for a more efficient and cost effective model that shares costs across the helplines. The overall cost for the pooled service in 2006-07 was £1.45 million. Due to the shared nature of this service, it is impossible to give completely accurate cost for the Talk to Frank helpline alone. But based upon the split in number of calls, we estimate that the Talk to Frank helpline service would cost roughly £800,000 of the £1.5 million.