FRANK (drugs)

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FRANK is a national drug education service jointly established by the Department of Health and Home Office of the British government in 2003.[1][2] It is intended to reduce the use of both legal and illegal drugs by providing "targeted" and "accurate" information on drugs and alcohol, particularly to school pupils.[3] It is advertised and promoted through television,[4] radio[5] and the internet.[6][7]


FRANK provides the following services for people who seek information and/or advice about drugs:[8]

  • A website
  • A confidential telephone number, available 24 hours a day
  • Email
  • A confidential live chat service, available from 2pm-6pm daily
  • A service to locate counselling and treatment

Brain Warehouse[edit]

Talk To FRANK produced a short film in 2007 entitled "Brain Warehouse". The film, directed by Ronnie West, follows 10 teenage boys and girls who are using different drugs and shows the good and bad sides of taking them.

Produced by RSA Films [9]


FRANK has been accused of presenting false and misleading information about drugs. One example occurred in 2007 when the site had to remove an article entitled "Cannabis Explained" after several groups (some of which advocate the decriminalisation of cannabis use) pointed out errors in the information presented.[10][11] The Transform Drug Policy Foundation criticised FRANK's campaign on cocaine on the basis that the harms it depicted are a result of legal prohibition rather than the drug itself.[12]

The Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith criticised FRANK and drug education more generally in a February 2010 speech, arguing that "Drugs education programmes, such as Talk to FRANK, have failed on prevention and intervention, instead progressively focussing on harm reduction and risk minimisation, which can be counter-productive."[13] The Centre for Social Justice, a think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, further argued in a December 2010 paper that FRANK "has proved ineffectual and even damaging, to the point of giving information as to the ‘cost’ and immediate physical effects of drugs more prominently than driving home the danger."[14]


External links[edit]