Drug campaign aims at 11-plus

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The Independent Online

An advertising campaign intended to prevent children as young as 11 taking Class A drugs on New Year's Eve was launched yesterday.

An advertising campaign intended to prevent children as young as 11 taking Class A drugs on New Year's Eve was launched yesterday.

The £1.5m drive will use radio and magazine adverts to urge millions of youngsters from 11 to 18 to stop and think of the long-term health problems that can be caused by ecstasy and cocaine. Posters will also be displayed at nightspots where they might be tempted to dabble with drugs.

Latest government estimates show Class A drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy are used at least once a year by up to 220,000 of those aged 16 to 19 in England. Up to 675,000 in the same age group use illegal drugs.

The Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth said: "What many young people do not know about are the less dramatic side-effects of taking Class A drugs. These can include long-term medical problems such as panic attacks, paranoia, depression, sleeplessness and heart problems."

Last year, the National Drugs Helpline, 0800 776600, had 275,000 inquiries. The average age of callers was 16.

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