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Welcome to this issue of the FRANK Action Update. This is a special reference
edition designed to give information on a wide range of audiences and can
be used alongside other Updates in the series.

The range of professionals in the FRANK network is very broad, so some issues
of the Update may be more relevant to your work and your client group than
others. But we hope that each Update will bring you useful information and
inspiration as you get on with the vital job of raising awareness about drugs.

Britain has always been a mixed society; a nation peopled by migrants1. Today, five thousand years since
the Neolithic nomads first set foot in North West Europe, Britain is more diverse and heterogeneous than ever
before. Multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-layered, modern British society boasts a rich mix of
ethnic minorities and communities whose various cultural histories and influences now form an integral part
of our collective national identity.

Ethnicity, however, is not our only source of social diversity. Disabled people and lesbian, gay, and bisexual
communities make up a significant slice of the population, adding their own distinctive identities to our diverse
modern society. But while diversity enriches our culture, it also poses certain challenges. Different people have
different needs, particularly in terms of communications. When it comes to drugs – which are available to and
used by people of every age, race, class, creed and ability - how do we ensure that the right information gets
through? The range of needs can seem daunting.

This FRANK Action Update aims to provide background information on a wide range of groups and communities
in Britain today, plus useful checklists and ideas for action to help you create successful, targeted campaigns.
It is unlikely to cover everything, but should help you make an important step towards understanding diversity.

FRANK IN ACTION Feedback from the public and local networks 2
VITAL STATISTICS Statistics, trends and insights into: 3
(Including Movers Ethnic minority communities 4
and Shakers) Lesbian, gay and bisexual people 32
Disabled people 37
Language and literacy 40
IDEAS FOR ACTION Ideas and inspiration for media work and local action 42
USEFUL RESOURCES Useful contacts, publications, resources and websites 46

FRANK TIPS Checklists for action
Barriers to communication
Engaging with communities
Communicating with disabled people
FRANK FACTS The legal framework
MORE FRANK Order your FRANK resources

The core audience for this Update is anyone who is planning, or needs to plan, communications
activity about drugs with a wide range of non-mainstream audiences.
FRANK Action Update – Understanding Crack Cocaine 1
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Research with young people and parents shows that FRANK has been well-received
and is seen as welcoming and inclusive for both people who have a problem with
drugs and others who have more straightforward questions or concerns. The work
of local organisers is adding significant value to FRANK and getting the message
across to key audiences.

For news on how FRANK is progressing, and details of future plans, make sure you register at


“I think this whole project is fantastic. “I was shocked! I never knew that there
I have never seen anything so honest were so many drugs around. I found this
about drugs.All the kids in the schools very educational and helpful. Kids think
have heard of it and I shall encourage parents don’t know much when they talk
them to visit the website.” with their friends in front of you. FRANK
e-mail about the FRANK campaign from a Theatre will help me understand what they are
in Education worker saying and, hopefully, catch on much
quicker if my kids or my friends’ kids are
in trouble.An eye-opener.Thanks!”
“FRANK seems really clued-up.They know
e-mail about the FRANK website from a parent
all the lingo which makes me feel FRANK
is one of us.There’s no getting away from
drugs, they’re always going to be around. “Many thanks for your information pack
FRANK is dealing with it in the best way, which I received the other day. Posters
by being relaxed. I feel I could ring them are now up in work and all staff have
and not be judged.” found it very informative.We look forward
Comment from teenager participating in FRANK research to more in the future.”
e-mail about the FRANK Action Update Summer:
Feel the Heat from a drug worker

FRANK would like to thank Graham Rimmer, National FRANK would also like to thank Communities Against
Union of Students (NUS) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Drugs in the East Midlands, for establishing active links
Campaign Further Education Representative, for with the campaign in their efforts to raise awareness
working directly with the campaign while co- and tackle the issue of drugs in the local Asian
ordinating anti-spiking programmes and drugs community. Working with vulnerable young Asian
awareness initiatives across UK campuses. Graham people, the project has helped overcome the taboo
has helped establish contact with LGB communities of talking about drugs and, using agency links and
within student unions, and has spread FRANK FRANK literature, has developed local services to
messages and materials far and wide. meet community needs.

Tell us what you’re doing – and what people are saying locally about FRANK – by emailing the campaign
team at

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Britain is becoming an increasingly diverse society. The following facts and
figures provide a snapshot of the social and cultural make-up of the country
today, and of the multiple needs and identities that should be considered
when devising communication campaigns.

In 2001, nearly 8% of the UK population – over 4.6 million people – came from ethnic minority
communities. That’s an increase of 1.5 million in just one decade. In particular, we’ve seen an
increase in arrivals from the Middle East and Eastern Europe2. In London and Birmingham it is
estimated that, within less than 15 years, Black Caribbean and Asian people will make up at least
40% of the youth population3. There are also thought to be more than 300,000 Gypsies and Travellers
in the UK who may often be excluded from regular and mainstream sources of information8.


In 2003, 20,975 people, including dependants, were accepted for permanent settlement in the
United Kingdom, either following recognition as refugees or under exceptional leave4. In the same
year, an additional 119,000 people entered Britain as work permit holders5. Disability affects all
sectors of the population but is especially prevalent among older people, refugees and asylum
seekers and among people on lower incomes.

Around 10 million people, almost one in six of the population, have some form of disability that
may affect their access to mainstream services, venues and communications6.

It is estimated that 16% of the adult population (5.2 million adults) have some kind of literacy
problem7. This figure is subject to regional variation, and in some areas can rise to up to 40%,
with four out of 10 adults unable to read or write properly or do simple sums.


Many studies have been conducted to establish the size of the LGB community in Britain, and while
statistics differ, the majority of evidence indicates that lesbian, gay and bisexual people account for
roughly 7% of the total UK population9.

Drugs are a fact of life. They can affect anyone anytime, regardless of geographical location,
social or sexual orientation, gender, race or ability and touch upon communities in many different
ways. We know more about some groups of people than others so this Update contains facts and
figures on some of the key ethnic minority communities, cultures and main groups of disabled
people currently in Britain.

It is important that you find out as much as you can about the audiences you are targeting and
don’t make simplistic assumptions.

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Each part of the country is made MAJOR POPULATION GROUPS IN THE UK1
up of different populations facing
Ethnic group Number % of
different problems. However, there
(to nearest total UK
are some key demographic statistics 1,000) population
that tell us certain things about
large groups of people. These can Total
population 58,790,000 100
be useful in helping you understand White 54,150,000 92.1
the different needs of different All minorities 4,640,00.00 7.9
communities and so help you tailor Indian 1,053,000 1.8
Pakistani 747,000 1.3
your message accordingly. Black
Caribbean 566,000 0.9
When planning communications, you will need Black African 485,000 0.8
to be aware of the diversity of the communities Bangladeshi 283,000 0.5
in your local area so that you can make your Chinese 247,000 0.4
initiatives accessible to everybody. You may Somali* 125,000-150,000 0.2-0.25
know your local social demographics but, if not,
Source: ONS UK Census 2001
results from the 2001 Census can tell you great * Exact figs for the Somali community in the UK not currently available.
deal more about who lives and works where,
and some of the issues they are facing. See for the latest
official information.
Within our diverse population, some groups
Historically, the uptake of drug services by of people are highly visible and have long
ethnic minority communities has been low. established communities with thriving social
Many drug users from these communities regard and cultural networks. These include people
much of the existing drug treatment services from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the
as run by, and for, white people10. As such, opiate Caribbean. Other groups, such as the lesbian,
users from these communities are less likely gay, bisexual and transgender communities,
to engage in drug treatment than their white disabled people and those with poor literacy
counterparts11. Drug users are also less likely skills, can be less visible but their needs must
to see their GPs about drug use12. The needs also be considered and catered for. Some
of some ethnic minority groups are also people, such as disabled people who are
overlooked by existing services, which tend gay or part of an ethnic minority community,
to focus on injecting rather than smoking. may also face multiple discrimination.
Research has shown “significant shortcomings
in..... specific provision for minority ethnic
women” and suggests that drugs workers require
training on not only race, but also wider equality
issues. In order to attract clients from these
communities, services need to be targeted.

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South Asian opiate users both smoke and inject opiates but are more likely to smoke than inject13.
There is a strong stigma attached to drug use, which is seen as a moral failing and a religious sin
and is often attributed to deficient parenting11. This view contributes to stigma within the
community. The family of a known drug user will suffer from shame, a loss of status and respect.

South Asians are under-represented among individuals presenting to drug services. Those living
outside the London area often have little knowledge of locally available drug services. Parents
have little idea of the costs and availability of treatment and may be ignorant as to what it entails
– some believe that treatment involves brain surgery, for example. Parents can also favour
“traditional” approaches, such as physical punishment, sending their children “back home” or
marrying them off. Parental knowledge of drug use varies, depending on their level of education,
English fluency and involvement in mainstream society. Indian parents and some Bangladeshi and
Pakistani men are more likely to be better informed as they tend to have more fluency in English
and access to a wider range of information. Young people know more, but their knowledge is
patchy and often based on personal experience.

Incidence of substance misuse would seem to be lower among the Chinese community than
among the mainstream population. According to the British Crime Survey (2002), 4% had taken
an illicit drug in the last year, compared to 12% of the white British population.

Although there is a general low incidence of drug misuse, anecdotal evidence suggests that
certain high-stress groups within the Chinese community could be at risk of higher usage, such
as students in higher education and catering workers.

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• There are 283,063 Bangladeshis living Most Bangladeshi people in Britain come
in the UK (+74% since 1991) from the rural area of Sylhet in North East
• That’s 0.5% of the total population, Bangladesh. Their family backgrounds are
and 6.1% of the ethnic minority population predominantly in landholding or farming, and
• The majority of Bangladeshis are Muslim Bangladeshis are less likely than Indian people
• Bangladeshis are less likely to have to have formal educational qualifications, with
contact with other ethnic groups only 14% of Bangladeshi migrants in the UK
• Bangladeshi homes are often poor having A-level equivalents, and 75% having
quality and overcrowded no formal qualifications at all. While some older
• Much importance is placed on Bangladeshi men have been in Britain for 20 or
commitment to family obligations 30 years, their partners and children may have
and religious observance arrived more recently, with the peak phase of
• Only 41% of Bangladeshi women and migration coming in the 1980s.
32% of Bangladeshi men speak English
• Overall, men have a higher proficiency in
both written and spoken English. For women The Bangladeshi population is split evenly
over 30, ability in English drops off sharply between men and women, but is heavily
skewed towards the young:

• 90% are under 50 years old

• 32% are aged 25-49
• 20% are aged 16-24
• 38% are under 15

Asian or Asian British, Bangladeshi

o East Midlands 6,923

o East of England 18,503
o London 153,893
o North East 6,167
o North West 26,003
o South East 15,358
o South West 4,816
o West Midlands 31,401
o Yorkshire and the Humber 12,330
o Wales 5,436
Source: ONS UK Census 2001

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Bangladeshis are one of the most deprived brought up with a good knowledge of Islam,
communities in the UK, with over 73% of the and religious matters are central to most
population in the lower income (DE Bangladeshi households. The COI Common
socio–economic) groups. The employment rate Good Research – Ethnic Minority Communities
of the community as a whole is 39%, the lowest 2003, highlighted the fact that many Muslims
amongst all the established ethnic minority (young and old alike) said they were Muslims
groups. Only 60% of Bangladeshi men and 16% first and foremost, and that all other identities
of Bangladeshi women are in employment3. were secondary to this. Men are more likely to
Many find unskilled work in industry, visit Mosques than women, and often attend
manufacturing and catering. discussions on social and spiritual topics. It is
during these discussion sessions that the issue
IDENTITY, FAMILY AND FAITH of drugs is often raised and addressed.

The Bangladeshi community tends to be

extremely family-focused, with much
importance attached to family unity and
discipline. The community’s kinship network is
called Gushti. Mosques and community centres
act as a source of support, often providing
information on local employment opportunities.

Most Bangladeshis are Muslim (92%, the vast

majority of whom are Sunni), and Islam plays
a crucial part in everyday life. Children are


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English Bengali (written), Sylheti (spoken)
Key communication medium Any Audio cassette, Bi-lingual leaflet
Specialist media
Print media: Eastern Eye - weekly newspaper aimed at young British Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.
News and views from an Asian perspective. Large female readership. Sister paper of Asian Times.
Tel: 020 7650 2000
Janomot - upmarket weekly Bengali newspaper, circulated throughout the UK and Europe.
Tel: 020 7650 2000
Radio: Asian Sound Radio – based in Manchester, broadcasts in Bengali and English as well as
Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi. Tel: 0161 288 100
DOs and DON’Ts
• Avoid touching Muslim and Asian women
• Muslim women who wear the Hijaab (veil) may have concerns about mixed gender gatherings
• Avoid discussions on religious and political issues
• When using visuals they should clearly refer to the largely Muslim Bangladeshi community

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THE INDIAN COMMUNITY and 30% of British Indians respectively. Some
were originally from farming backgrounds,
SNAPSHOT particularly those from Gujarat. Others were
from towns and cities and held vocational or
• The Indian community is the largest degree-level qualifications. Of those who came
ethnic minority community in Britain to Britain aged 16+, about a third had at least
• There are 1,053,411 Indians living in the A-level equivalent qualifications, but around
UK – 1.8% of the total population, and 23% half had no formal qualifications at all.
of the ethnic minority population
• The majority of British Indians are Sikhs There is also a considerable group of people
from the Punjab (50%) and Hindus from who first migrated to East Africa (mainly Uganda
Gujarat (30%) and Kenya), and who then came from Africa
• Indians are most likely to mix with other groups to Britain in the early 1970’s. These people are
• Among Indians, employment closely sometimes referred to as East African Asians.
resembles the national UK profile Thus, the Indian community can come from a
• 60% of Indian women and 63% of Indian range of different countries, not just India.
men can speak English ‘very well’
• Indian men are more proficient in both DEMOGRAPHICS AND SOCIO-ECONOMICS
written and spoken English. Young people
have a greater knowledge of both written The British Indian population is split evenly
and spoken English. For women over 30, between men and women and is biased
ability in English drops dramatically13 towards the young:

ORIGINS • 81% are under 50 years old

• 42% are aged 25-49
Indian people arriving in Britain come mainly • 16% are aged 16-24
from the Punjab and Gujarat. Those from the • 23% are under 15
Punjab are mostly Sikhs, while those from
Gujarat are mostly Hindus, accounting for 50% Compared to certain other British ethnic minority

Asian or Asian British, Indian

o East Midlands 122,346

o East of England 51,035
o London 436,933
o North East 10,156
o North West 72,219
o South East 89,219
o South West 16,394
o West Midlands 178,691
o Yorkshire and the Humber 51,493
o Wales 8,261
Source: ONS UK Census 2001

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groups, Indians are relatively prosperous, with 37% Within the traditional Indian family, there are clear
belonging to the higher income (ABC1 socio- designated roles for the father and mother: the
economic) groups and enjoying a degree of father is the head, breadwinner, decision-maker
economic success. The employment rate of the and teacher, while the mother takes care of
community as a whole is 69% - the highest among domestic duties and looks after the children.
all non-white groups. Employment is relatively well- However, the role of women has developed in
distributed between females (63%) and males recent years, and they are increasingly able to
(75%). Skilled wholesale work and retail trade attend further/higher education and earn their
provides the main source of employment. own living.

IDENTITY, FAMILY AND FAITH The majority (45%) of Indians practice Hinduism. A
large percentage (30%) are Sikhs, and a smaller
The Indian community in Britain is extremely proportion are Muslims (13%). However, the
diverse, made up of people from different religious composition of East African Asians is
countries and regions, and encompassing different: 27% are Sikh, 58% Hindu and 15% Muslim.
a wide range of languages and religions.
However, commonalities exist regarding values Religious identities are important, but less than
and social structure. among, say, the Bangladeshi population. Indian
people are more likely to mention their national
The Indian population tend to have larger than identity before they mention religious affiliations.
average families and family structure and unity is Religious and community festivals are central
very important. Much importance is attached to to the lives of young and old alike, presenting
education and academic achievement. opportunities for cross-generational get-togethers.


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English Gujurati and Punjabi
Key communication medium Any Bi-lingual leaflet
Specialist media
Print media: Asian Times – weekly English language Asian newspaper. Respected and
influential, no political or religious affiliation. Sister paper of the Eastern Eye. Tel: 020 7650 2000
The Sikh Times – weekly English and Punjabi newspaper with news features, fashion and
entertainment. Aimed at young Asian professionals and older readers (40+). Tel: 0121 515 4213
Garavi Gujarat – weekly magazine printed in Gujarati and English. Covers major news from
the Indian sub-continent, as well as news for Asians living in the UK. Features includes articles
on religion and politics. Tel: 020 7928 1234
Radio: Asian Sound Radio – based in Manchester, broadcasts in Bengali and English, as well as
Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi. Tel: 0161 288 1000
DOs and DON’Ts
• Avoid touching Muslim and Asian women
• Avoid discussions on religious and political issues

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THE PAKISTANI COMMUNITY the 1960’s following the flooding of the land
surrounding the Mirpur Dam. The Mirpur group
SNAPSHOT is now the largest group of Pakistanis in Britain.

• The Pakistani community is the second largest The first generation of Pakistani migrants was
ethnic minority community in Britain a more homogeneous population than the
• There are 747,285 Pakistanis in the UK. That’s Indian migrants, typically holding few formal
1.3% of the total population, and 16.1% of qualifications. Just under one in five who arrived
the ethnic minority population aged 16 or older had at least A-level equivalent
• Generations of people of Pakistani origin qualifications, whilst around two thirds had no
born in Britain are now establishing their own formal qualifications at all. Men migrated first
unique identity in British culture and used wages to purchase property and
• The extended family often lives together so send money back to their families in Pakistan.
families are large. Homes may be overcrowded
• Many Pakistani women conduct their lives DEMOGRAPHICS AND SOCIO-ECONOMICS
entirely within the community and have little
need to speak English The British Pakistani population is split between
• 51% of Pakistani women and 43% of Pakistani men and women at 51%/49%. The population
men can speak English ‘very well’. Overall, is heavily skewed towards the young:
men are more proficient in written and spoken
language. For women over 30 and men over • 88% are under 50 years old
50, ability in English drops off sharply14 • 34% are aged 25-49
• 19% are aged 16-24
ORIGINS • 35% are under 15

The Pakistani community originally migrated to Families tend to be large, with an average
Britain following the political instability caused size of 6.2 people per household. The Pakistani
by the Partition of India in 1947 and then in community is one of the most disadvantaged
groups in Britain, experiencing greater

Asian or Asian British, Pakistani

o East Midlands 27,829

o East of England 38,790
o London 142,749
o North East 14,074
o North West 116,968
o South East 58,520
o South West 6,729
o West Midlands 154,550
o Yorkshire and the Humber 146,330
o Wales 8,287
Source: ONS UK Census 2001

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economic deprivation than the Indian part in everyday life. As with the Bangladeshi
community, although less deprivation than community, Mosques and community centres
the Bangladeshi community. The employment act as a source of support, often providing
rate (47%) is the second lowest amongst all information on local employment opportunities.
of the established minority communities. 64% Children are brought up with a good knowledge
of Pakistani men and 29% of Pakistani women of Islam, and religious matters are central to most
are in employment. Independent retailing or Pakistani households. It is common for younger
catering, garment factories and the minicab children to attend Arabic classes for two hours
industry are the most popular employment. each evening in order to learn to recite the Koran,
and praise is lavished on those demonstrating
IDENTITY, FAMILY AND FAITH a commitment to religious observances.

The British Pakistani community is mainly made As with people from Bangladesh, many
up of people who originated from the North Pakistanis consider themselves to be Muslims
West Frontier Province and the Punjab, Sindh first and foremost, with all other identities being
and Baluchistan provinces of Pakistan. People secondary to this.
from these regions tend to socialise within their
own supportive networks, called Biraderi. Family
honour is extremely important for Pakistani
people, both within individual households and
the community as a whole.

Most Pakistanis are Muslim (92%, the vast majority

of whom are Sunni), and Islam plays a crucial


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English Urdu (written), Punjabi (spoken)
Key communication medium Any Bi-lingual leaflet (Urdu, English)
Specialist media
Print media: Asian Times – weekly English language Asian newspaper. Respected and
influential, no political or religious affiliation. Sister paper of the Eastern Eye. Tel: 020 7650 2000
The Nation – bi-lingual weekly newspaper published in English and Urdu. Contains news stories
from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and is targeted mainly at older people. Mainly distributed
in Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and London. Tel: 020 8478 3200
Radio: Asian Sound Radio – based in Manchester, broadcasts in Bengali and English, as well as
Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi. Tel: 0161 288 1000
DOs and DON’Ts
• Avoid touching Muslim and Asian women
• Muslim women who wear the Hijaab (veil) may have concerns about mixed gender gatherings
• Avoid discussions on religious and political issues

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• The Chinese community is the sixth largest Britain’s first Chinatown sprang up in Limehouse,
ethnic minority community in Britain East London, in the 1880’s, when Chinese
• There are 247,403 Chinese people in the seamen settled there to escape the cramped
UK (+57% since 1991). That’s 0.4% of the lodgings provided elsewhere by the East India
total population, and 5.3% of the ethnic Shipping Company. The next major wave of
minority population immigration came in the 1960’s, as land reform
• Chinese people in Britain derive mainly in Hong Kong brought disillusioned agricultural
from Hong Kong, although some have workers to Britain in search of a new life. Many
migrated from Malaysia and Vietnam of those who arrived in the 1960’s made a living
and a growing number from China by opening or working in Chinese restaurants.
• 15% of the Chinese community are Today, 71% of self-employed Chinese, and 15%
employed in the catering industry, often of the community as a whole, are employed
working long and unsociable hours in the catering industry.
• Although overall the community is more
disadvantaged than the mainstream DEMOGRAPHICS AND SOCIO-ECONOMICS
population, Chinese young people have the
highest levels of educational achievement The British Chinese population is evenly split
• 75% of Chinese women and 77% of Chinese between men and women, and is heavily
men can speak English ‘very well’. For men skewed towards the young:
and women over 45, ability in English drops
off dramatically14 • 90% are under 50 years old
• 32% are aged 25-49
• 20% are aged 16-24
• 38% are under 15


o East Midlands 12,910

o East of England 20,385
o London 80,201
o North East 6,048
o North West 26,887
o South East 33,089
o South West 12,722
o West Midlands 16,099
o Yorkshire and the Humber 12,340
o Wales 6,267
Source: ONS UK Census 2001

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The British Chinese are more likely to live in a flat ensuring that children learn to read and write
(26%) and in relatively overcrowded conditions. Chinese, and to speak either Cantonese or
The second generation have attained relatively Mandarin. Concerned about the dilution of
high academic qualifications (30% of Chinese Chinese culture among the younger, British-born
are successful in further and higher education) generation, parents are often keen to educate
and are generally as economically active as their children in cultural matters to ensure that
the white British population (although in more this is passed down the line. Chinese festivals,
manually-oriented roles). Accommodation tied such as Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn
to work is still common practice for those festival and the Dragon Boat festival, are
working in restaurants. As a result, homelessness observed within the family. Research has shown
is a serious issue faced by many elderly retirees. that Chinese parents value hard work, higher-
level studies and financial independence, and
IDENTITY, FAMILY AND FAITH try to instil these values in their children4. Social
life within the Chinese community still has a
Chinese people represent a close and relatively strictly observed hierarchical structure where
tight-knit community, who continue to place the father has the ultimate voice in the family.
considerable emphasis upon maintaining their Older and more traditional people are uneasy
cultural identity. However, while traditional about discussing personal matters with
Chinese values may be gradually eroded under strangers, one of the reasons why it is difficult
Western influences, the sense of obligation for them to access public services.
and responsibility toward family remains a core
value. Distinctions between those who come There are three principal forms of religion
from Hong Kong, Malaysia, mainland China practised in Britain: Buddhism, Confucianism
or Vietnam are important and observed. and Taoism. However, some Chinese people
Many Chinese parents place great store by may come from a Christian (Protestant or
Catholic) background.


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English Hong Kong Chinese: Cantonese
(spoken) Classical Chinese (written)
Mainland China: Mandarin (spoken)
Simplified Chinese (written)
Key communication medium Any Bi-lingual leaflet
Specialist media
Print media: Sing Tao – daily Chinese broadsheet newspaper. Targets the whole community
and so contains news and information to interest readers from 18-65. Also has sections on news
and current affairs from Hong Kong and China. Tel: 020 8732 7628
DOs and DON’Ts
• Images that reinforce the close link between generations will be well received
• Be aware that older and more traditional people can be uneasy about discussing personal
matters with strangers

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Project 6 is a community drugs agency based in Keighley, West Yorkshire. In April 2002, the agency
launched an Asian Communities Substance Misuse Support Project with the aim of increasing the
number of Asian people accessing local drug services.

For some time prior to the project’s inception, voluntary sector service workers had noticed an
increase in drug use by members of the local South Asian community – the largest ethnic minority
group in Bradford and Keighley. Reports issued to the police and Local Authority confirmed this
trend, although there was very little evidence of Asian people seeking help or accessing services.

In order to address the issue, the post of Asian Communities Development (ACD) Worker was
created, with a view to:

• Networking with community organisations

• Organising drugs awareness sessions
• Directing members from ethnic minority communities towards Project 6 services
• Providing direct treatment interventions with members of ethnic minority communities

For the first six months the appointed ACD worker, a South Asian woman from Bradford with a
background in social work, engaged with Asian community centres in order to gain the trust of
community leaders, establish local credibility and increase awareness of Project 6 and all it has to
offer. Now, almost three years on, the ACD worker has regular contact with the Asian community
organisations in Keighley, providing direct advice and information to those she visits. She also
engages in Drugs Awareness events, and runs a number of innovative projects exploring substance
misuse issues.

Responsible now for a small caseload of clients, and continually involved in development work,
the ACD worker sees approximately half of the members of the South Asian community currently
accessing Project 6 services. She provides:

• Assessment, care planned casework and appropriate therapeutic referral for clients
• Advice, information and support for parents and carers of substance users
• Referral to other Project 6 services, such as complementary therapies
• Home visits, whenever appropriate

Overall, the project has lead to a significant increase of interventions within the local South Asian
community, with the percentage of Asian people accessing Project 6 services rising from 3% to
10% in the first year alone. Having broken down the initial barrier to engagement, with a culturally
sensitive approach seen as integral to the Project’s success, a number of options are now being
considered to extend and improve the available services. These include setting up outreach work
and peer-education, and establishing a drug clinic at the Keighley Healthy Living Network.

For further information, contact: Alison Richards, DAT Coordinator, Bradford DAT
Tel: 01274 752 012 Email:

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In Luton, the Asian community is predominantly made up of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Kashmiris.
Not long ago, community research identified growing drug misuse problems within these ethnic
groups, particularly among the young, with the provision and take-up of services severely hindered
for a number of reasons, including:

• Lack of community support in the local area

• Limited awareness and information about drug issues in communities
• Difficulty in recognising the symptoms and problems of drug misuse

In an attempt to address these local issues, the Asian Drugs Information Befriending Outreach
Project (ADIBOP) was founded in collaboration with Luton Drug and Alcohol Partnership, with
three years of funding from the Luton Health Action Zone. The aim of the project is to provide
information, advice and support services to young Asian people and their families in a culturally
sensitive and appropriate environment; to develop innovative drugs education and prevention
programmes and to offer sustained support to Asian people while in treatment. Overall responsibility
for the project is shared between the Centre for Youth and Community Development (CYCD) and
the Bangladeshi Youth League.

ADIBOP employs multilingual male and female drugs workers from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani and
Kashmiri communities who are able to offer advice and guidance in a number of languages, including
Urdu, Punjabi and Sylethi. Based in community centres across the town, they provide confidential
one-to-one befriending and support to those who need it. The project as a whole, meanwhile,
promotes drugs information in the community by working with local high schools that have a high
proportion of Asian students to help develop drugs education programmes; organising workshops
and drama activities during annual summer schools; holding education and awareness-raising
sessions at local mosques and community groups, and setting up drug information points at youth
clubs and gyms.

After its initial three-year period, ADIBOP has now been further developed, becoming mainstreamed
by drug and alcohol commissioners. Locally, the project has met with success, supporting members
of the Asian community to access new GP services for crack cocaine and opiate-related problems.
Through its information services and diversionary work, ADIBOP has also managed to reach parents,
opening up drug-related dialogue in a culturally sensitive way. The project’s female workers have
also enabled ADIBOP to reach local Asian women, who have otherwise proved difficult to engage,
while the promotion of cross-generational support in drug-related issues has brought older members
of the community into the picture.

ADIBOP offers an on-going consultancy service for other agencies and generic services, while
networks of schools, youth groups and parent groups seeking ADIBOP information and education
programmes are growing steadily.

For further information, contact: Glynis Allen, Strategic Development Manager, Luton Drug
and Alcohol Partnership Tel: 01582 709 118 Email:

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Black Africans are not a single homogenous community. Nigerians, Ghanaians and Somalis are
three of the largest groups of Black Africans in the UK and as such we know most about them. Black
Africans have lower rates of drug misuse than Black Caribbeans. According to the British Crime
Survey 2001/2002, 3% of Black Africans had used cannabis in the previous year, compared with
11% of white British and 17% of Black Caribbeans. Only 2% of Black Africans had ever used a
Class A drug. However, the issues outlined for ethnic minority communities - in relation to drug
misuse and access to services - still apply and should be taken into consideration when
targeting the Black African community with drugs information.

Although Somalis are typically considered to use khat, crack cocaine use is increasing in the
community and this is not just confined to men. Khat use for Somali men is often cultural. Attending
the khat house (or mafresh) is considered equivalent to going to the pub. GPs and other service
providers are perceived as having little knowledge of khat. In addition, the type of counselling
offered by treatment services is perceived as inappropriate culture to the community. The word
“counselling” was also seen as having a stigma attached to it. The community favours
community-based, culturally appropriate solutions and treatments.

Black African people tend to have high unemployment levels, low income and experience
discrimination and lack of recognition of the skills and educational qualifications that they
obtained in Africa. This means that many do jobs that do not reflect their capabilities or
educational attainment.

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THE GHANAIAN COMMUNITY and were easily assimilated within the mainstream.
Political upheavals in Ghana in the late1970’s and
SNAPSHOT early 1980’s caused an increase in applications
for asylum. Since 1992, stability has returned to the
• There are an estimated 60-80,000 Ghanaian country and, in recent years, Ghana has made
people currently living in the UK moves to try to encourage people to return.
• Over the last ten years, there have been
just over 9,000 applications for asylum from IDENTITY, FAMILY AND FAITH
Ghana, excluding dependants. Applications
were running at 1,500-2,000 a year in the The Ghanaian community is one of the largest
early 1990s, but these figures have decreased and oldest African groups in the UK. British
to a few hundred people a year colonisation of Africa meant that many
• 82% of UK Ghanaians born in Ghana Ghanaians found themselves in the UK as a
currently live in London. The most popular result of slavery or, over time, through trade.
boroughs are Lambeth, Haringey, Brent,
Newham, Southwark and Wandsworth. Family life and kinship are important to
Outside London, people are spread evenly, Ghanaians, and the traditional social values
although there is a small Ghanaian of respect for elders and ancestor worship still
community in Manchester have a bearing on people’s lives. The majority
• The vast majority of Ghanaians are fluent of Ghanaians in the UK are Christians, with an
and literate in English, which is the official estimated 60:40 split between Protestants and
language of Ghana. However, there are more Catholics. Traditional animist beliefs are also
than 17 main language groups, and most popular, while around 5-10% of the Ghanaian
people speak more than one language4 population is Muslim. In addition to the normal
Christian and Islamic religious festivals, Ghanaians
ORIGIN celebrate several National days. Whilst not
currently widespread in the UK, as people
Most people who emigrated from Ghana in the rediscover their African roots, they may
Twentieth Century came either as merchant become more popular. These National Days are
seamen who settled in the port towns, or as Independence Day (March 6); Apoo (New Year
students who tended to settle around London. festival, a 13-day festival that ends on March
The majority were from an urban background 21); Homowo (Harvest festival - September).


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English English
Key communication medium Any Any
Specialist media
Print media: The Voice – weekly newspaper aimed at Black Caribbeans and Africans.
Tel: 020 7737 7377
DOs and DON’Ts
• It is very important to be seen to treat older people with respect and deference

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• Although there are no official figures, current Nigerians who came to the UK in order to
estimates put the total number of Nigerians broaden their education are referred to as
resident in the UK at 125-150,000 “students who stayed”. The socio-economic
• English is the adopted official language of profile of this group is therefore urban and well
Nigeria, so the vast majority of Nigerians born educated. As Nigerians are very family-centric,
outside the UK speak and read English. the achievement ethic has continued through
However, there are an estimated 250 ethnic to the second education.
groups in Nigeria, all of whom have their own
language or dialect. The main languages are IDENTITY, FAMILY AND FAITH
Yoruba (south western region), Hausa/Fulani
(northern region) and Igbo/Ibo (south As well as being very family-focused, Nigerians
eastern/eastern region) retain a great respect for elders within the
• Hausa and Yoruba are widely understood, community. Elders are often consulted on all
as both languages are used as linguae major issues affecting the family or community
franca throughout West and Central Africa as a whole. Nigerians also consider it a duty to
• The Church is very influential within the look after all relatives, and for most people it is
Nigerian community. There are a number a matter of pride that they do.
of black-led churches that have large
congregations It is estimated that 75% of Nigerians in Britain
are from the mainly Christian Yoruba tribe, while
ORIGINS the Igbo community account for about 20%
and are also predominantly Christians. There
The main period of immigration for Nigerians are, however, Muslims among both Yoruba and
was in the late 1940’s, and again in the 1960’s. Igbo populations.
After Nigeria gained independence in 1960,
there became a need for more skills and higher As is true of most Black African communities,
levels of education, and many Nigerians initially the older UK Nigerian generation retain a
came over to the UK to study. However, many of strong sense of pride and in their heritage and
these people ended up settling in the UK and culture. Parents are keen for their children to
having families. The mid-to-late 1960’s ushered maintain a sense of cultural identity, and often
in a time of political and civil unrest in Nigeria, insist on upholding African traditions and
resulting in an influx of refugees arriving in the customs in the home.
UK. Most Nigerians in Britain are likely to be
Yoruba or Igbo.

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Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English English
Key communication medium Any Any
Specialist media
Print media: Nigerian News – fortnightly newspaper aimed at the Nigerian community.
Tel: 020 7266 4564
Television: BEN Television – non-subscription satellite television channel aimed primarily at the
Nigerian community. Shows a mixture of entertainment and information programming, in-house
news programmes and imported Nigerian films and series, as well as public service advertising.
Tel: 020 8808 8800
DOs and DON’Ts
• Remember, not all Nigerians are Christians; some may be Muslims
• The community holds elders in high esteem, so it is important to show respect to older people
and their opinions


SNAPSHOT commenced during the First World War, when
Somali men were recruited to fight alongside
• Community sources estimate that there British soldiers. A steady stream of new arrivals,
are between 125,000 and 150,000 Somalis many of whom were merchant seamen, followed
in Great Britain this initial wave of immigrants. Subsequent waves
• The most recent arrivals are refugees: of immigration occurred in the late 1970’s and
victims of the ongoing civil war and famine early 1980’s.
• The civil war has resulted in a breakdown in
the Somali education infrastructure, which DEMOGRAPHICS AND SOCIO-ECONOMICS
has had a direct impact upon both Mother
Tongue literacy and English fluency The UK Somali community experiences fairly
• Any first-generation Somali immigrant aged acute economic deprivation and social exclusion,
45+ is likely to have received a formal experiencing a high level of unemployment while
education and will probably have an often living in dilapidated and over-crowded
understanding of English. However, both older housing. Jobs are traditionally obtained by
and younger Somalis in Britain are likely to be word of mouth, while low levels of English
illiterate in their mother tongue fluency create further barriers to employment
and self-improvement.
Many of the Somalis recently granted refugee
Somalis have a long history of settlement status in the UK are young mothers who have
in Britain and are believed to be the oldest been forced to flee their home country without
African community in London. Migration their husbands.

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Somali society is patriarchal in structure, creating family and community. However, the combination
clearly defined roles for men (the ‘breadwinners’) of potential intra-ethnic conflict, combined with
and women (the ‘homemakers’). Somali women asylum seeker dispersal, means that the Somali
often suffer from social exclusion caused by community lacks the internal cohesion and
Islamic restrictions against mixing with men support experienced by many other ethnic
outside their own family. minority communities.

The Somali community is clan-based. This Furthermore, the traumas suffered by fleeing
culture persists in Britain, where clan affinities civil war have led to high incidences of mental
can determine an individual’s job prospects, health problems among the Somali population
social standing and credibility. Clan affiliations in the UK and a perceived growth in suicide
may also have implications upon the rates. This is compounded by the male Somali
effectiveness and acceptance of community penchant for chewing the khat leaf, which
initiatives. In Somalia there are over 100 of these is blamed by some community leaders as
clans (or ‘Rers’). Many Somalis in Britain are from contributing to mental ill-health.
the Isaaq clan. The clan system is less important
to younger Somalis, however, despite the fact The majority of the British Somali community are
that support groups tend to be organised on Sunni Muslim. Rural Somalis may blend Islamic
this basis. belief with traditional African religions. A small
minority follow the Roman Catholic faith.
Somalis have a powerful belief in independence
and individualism, as well as a strong belief in


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication Somali Somali
English English
Key communication medium Audio cassette Audio cassette
Bi-lingual leaflet
Specialist media
Print media: n/a

DOs and DON’Ts

• Avoid touching Muslim women
• Muslim women may have concerns about mixed gender gatherings
• Community-based treatment options are often seen as more culturally appropriate and
sympathetic and may therefore be more acceptable

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Ealing Drug Education Project (EDEP) - part of the Drug and Alcohol Action Programme (DAAP) -
provides drug education to all the communities in the London Borough of Ealing. The project works
in a focused way with the African and Somali communities in Southall and other parts of Ealing, as
well as with Caribbean and South Asian communities. This is to ensure that the borough’s range of
cultural and language needs are met appropriately, and that relevant drug education resources
are used at all times.EDEP works with individuals, families and organisations to increase their
knowledge of drugs and drug-related issues. The project maintains that local cohesion is essential to
empowering communities to tackle drug use and its associated harms, and provides a number of
services including:

• Drug education in appropriate languages to parents, young people and organisations, including
Somali, Gurmukhi Punjabi, Mirpuri Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujrati, English and Farsi
• Training local volunteers to disseminate drug education. The project currently has twenty
volunteers who are trained in drug, equality and diversity issues, and who can work with different
language and cultural groups
• The project has set up a Young People’s Council to help young people to present the issues
relevant to their lives. There are also targeted sessions for young Somali and Asian women and
young men who are drug users
• Providing professional input and support for school-based, culturally appropriate drug education
to meet the diverse needs of the borough’s communities. There are a number of EDEP options
for schools, including: tailored drugs awareness sessions (e.g. working with young people from the
Somali community to raise awareness about khat and illegal drugs); self-development sessions
with young people deemed to have a problem around drugs; drug education sessions for parents
• Working with local drug services to develop culturally sensitive services including producing
resources in appropriate languages
• Working with religious, business, statutory and voluntary organisations

For further information, contact: DAAP Tel: 020 8843 0945 Email


Tower Hamlets is known for its large Bangladeshi community. However, the London Borough is also home
to over 10,000 Somalis who make up a significant proportion of the Borough’s African population.

Following in-depth needs assessments and community analysis, Project Liban was set up to provide
information and advice to the local Somali community on substance misuse problems. Based at
a local hospital and employing four full-time workers, the project offers outreach, one-to-one client
support and drug education, while also delivering drugs awareness sessions in schools and youth
centres attended by young Somalis. Thanks to the new service, Somali people in Tower Hamlets
now have a culturally-specific and specialist drug programme at their disposal – one that provides
confidentiality on what is generally regarded by Somalis as a taboo subject, and encourages
people to access the help and information that they need.

For further information, contact: Ahmed Dirir, Project Liban Tel: 0208 880 7057

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The level of drug use among Black Caribbeans
is similar to that of the mainstream white
AMERICA community11. This may be explained by their
use of cannabis: among 16-59 year olds,
CARIBBEAN Black Caribbeans are significantly more likely
than white people to have used cannabis10.
Indeed, problematic drug use among Black
Caribbean users is more likely than other
groups to focus on cannabis.

Black Caribbean communities are affected

by opiate use, but tend not to inject.
Subsequently, their needs are sidelined by
existing services, which tend to focus on
injecting rather than smoking. Likewise, the
lack of stimulant services across the country
has marginalised the needs of many Black
Caribbean communities.

Black or Black British, Caribbean

o East Midlands 26,684

o East of England 26,199
o London 343,567
o North East 927
o North West 20,422
o South East 27,452
o South West 12,405
o West Midlands 82,282
o Yorkshire and the Humber 21,308
o Wales 2,597
Source: ONS UK Census 2001

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• Black Caribbeans are the fourth largest For Black Caribbeans, unemployment is highest
ethnic minority group in the UK, comprising among young people under 25. Even older
565,876 people. That’s 1% of the total UK Black Caribbean men and women have
population unemployment rates in excess of 20%. Black
• Black Caribbeans have a younger age Caribbeans do not tend to be employed in
profile than the mainstream population, professional occupations: over half of Black
although – as a result of migration patterns Caribbean women work in the public
of the 1950’s – a significant proportion of the administration, education or health sectors.
population of this community (11%) is aged
65 or over On the whole, Black Caribbean pupils have a
• The majority of Black Caribbeans in the low level of GCSE attainment. Only 23% of boys
UK are of Jamaican origin, although the and 38% of girls achieve five or more A*-C
community comprises people from all of the grade GCSEs. Black Caribbean pupils are also
100 islands that make up the West Indies more likely to be permanently excluded from
• Black Caribbeans are more likely to live in schools than children from other ethnic groups.
England than the rest of the UK. 61% of Black The permanent exclusion rate among Black
Caribbeans live in London, although there Caribbean pupils is 42 per 10,000.
are also communities settled in the rest of the
country in places such as the West Midlands, Nonetheless, many parents place great
the North and Yorkshire and the Humber importance on education. Supplementary
schools (Saturday schools) have been in
DEMOGRAPHICS AND SOCIO-ECONOMICS existence since the 1970’s and are one way
in which parents are attempting to improve
There has been a black presence in England their children’s educational attainment.
since the 1600’s, but the largest sustained
migration began in 1948 with the arrival of the
Empire Windrush from the West Indies, which
was carrying 490 migrants. The post-war boom
and subsequent labour shortages then paved
the way for increased waves of migration.
Between 1931 and 1951, the number of Black
Caribbean people living in Britain grew from
8,585 to 15,301. By 1961 the number was 171,800.

Industry and the newly-founded NHS ran

recruiting schemes in the West Indies. This
meant that many people would arrive in
England to take up guaranteed jobs – mainly
in health, transport, catering and engineering.

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Extended family structures are prevalent in However, mainstream British churches were
the Caribbean, and although these are less not initially welcoming to black people, so
pronounced in the UK community, extended a number of Pentecostal and Evangelical
family is still called upon to help with childcare, churches were established to provide places
resolve family problems and act as general for worship, and they have become important
support network. Family structures are as social centres as well.
matriarchal, with women seen as the
backbone of the family. A small number of Black Caribbeans in the UK
are followers of the Rastafarian religion. This
Despite the high prevalence of severe health religion is based on the teachings of Christianity
conditions among the community, such as and the ideas of Marcus Garvey. One of the
strokes, diabetes, Sickle Cell and Lupus, Black central tenets of Rastafarianism is that it is valid
Caribbeans are less likely to feel comfortable to believe that God in one’s own image is black.
accessing health services – mainly due to a Rastafarians revere the late Emperor of Ethiopia
fear, or previous experience, of unsatisfactory – Haile Selasse – as the second coming of Christ.
treatment due to racism. The preference,
instead, is often for traditional remedies from
the Caribbean.

The majority of the Caribbean community in the

UK are Christians, and religion – especially among
the older generation – is very important. The
Church and the church community have a
great deal of influence among Black Caribbeans.


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English English
Key communication medium Any Any
Specialist media
Print media: Caribbean Times – weekly newspaper aimed at all Black Caribbeans, but
appealing to a slightly older readership. Includes lifestyle, political and general interest articles
about Britain and the Caribbean. Sister paper to Asian Voice and Eastern Eye. Tel: 020 7650 2000
The Voice – weekly newspaper aimed at all Black Caribbeans and Africans, but appealing
to a slightly younger readership. Tel: 020 7737 7377

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In Kirklees, West Yorkshire, the Black Caribbean community forms part of a diverse regional ethnic
minority population. In 2000, as a result of two detailed needs assessments carried out under the
Department of Health’s ethnic minority needs assessment programme, various drug education
issues were brought to the attention of local authorities. These included a lack of knowledge of
available drugs services among Black Caribbean and other ethnic minority communities, and
an urgent need to improve service access for these people.

Building on earlier pioneering projects in East Lancashire, Making Things Equal was designed to
help Black Caribbean and other ethnic minority communities develop their own solutions and
preventative measures to drug use and related harms. The project also sought to increase
community involvement in local service and strategy development by creating partnerships
between communities and service providers.

Whereas the previous proto-type projects had concentrated on drugs education and prevention
and targeted South Asian communities specifically, the Kirklees programme sought a broader
approach by:

• Capacity-building in all areas of service provision and treatment

• Working with all ethnic minority communities in the area: Black Caribbean, African, South Asian,
Kurdish and asylum seekers

While the scope of new project is broad, within the Kirklees team there is a support worker
dedicated to the needs of Black Caribbean and Africa community members, providing culturally
relevant advice, help and information.

Meanwhile Community Interacters, individuals with unique access to the targeted ethnic minority
communities, help disseminate and gather information, working from within to help foster better
understanding and dialogue between the communities and service providers.

As a result of Kirklees project activities, knowledge and awareness of available drug services has
increased dramatically, and the number of Black Caribbean and other ethnic minority community
members accessing these services has risen. Specifically, the Interacters programme has proved
hugely successful in reaching, engaging and informing communities, and has been integral in
building up local expertise in dealing with drug use by people from ethnic minority groups.

For further information, contact: Maggie Hanson Team Leader, Making Things Equal Project,
Kirklees Tel: 01484 537 511 Email:

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It is widely assumed, sensibly, that evidence of refugee and asylum seeker involvement with
drugs is hard to find because both of these groups (especially the latter) would be powerfully
motivated to conceal any such involvement. Drug use rarely becomes evident at early
assessments related to asylum application, partly because asylum seekers fear any disclosure
will put paid to their hopes of being granted asylum and partly because the people involved
in doing the assessments, arranging housing etc, are not drugs specialists.

The likelihood of asylum seekers and refugees being involved in illegal drugs in the UK is determined
by a number of factors. Most significant, however, are individual attitudes and experiences and
religious and cultural influences. The prevalence of drug taking in the country of origin (and
indeed in the UK-resident communities of the same ethnic or national origin) and its prevalence
in the localities where refugees and asylum seekers are housed, may also have an influence.
Beliefs about what may jeopardise an asylum application or UK residence is also an issue.

As is well documented, drug misuse correlates with disadvantage, deprivation and mental health.
The overwhelming majority of asylum seekers and refugees have little or no money and are
highly disadvantaged in terms of educational and economic opportunity. As displaced people,
they may suffer (in varying degrees) from feeling they do not belong in the UK resulting in
feelings of insecurity and depression. There is also a higher prevalence of disability both physical
and mental – among refugees and asylum seekers, often due to the treatment they received
in their own country.

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• In 2003 the number of applications for asylum Asylum seeker communities are likely to be
in the UK was 49,4055 fragmented, with families not yet reunited, living
• The countries that produced the largest in temporary accommodation with uncertain
number of applicants were: immigration status. Although asylum seekers
- Iraq have urgent information and service needs –
- Somalia housing, health, benefits and employment –
- China there is no community infrastructure, such
- Zimbabwe as community centres. As a result, this group
- Iran is likely to be highly reliant on staff or key
• According to 2003 asylum statistics: individuals in the community for help and
- The majority of principal applicants in 2003 advice. Accessing education and health care
were under 35 years old (that’s 82%) and exposure to crime are all issues that these
- 15% were aged between 35 and 49 newly arrived communities will have to
- 3% were aged 50 or older contend with.
- Over two thirds (69%) of principal applicants
were male


Refugees (those people who have applied There is little information on the drugs
for and been granted asylum in the UK) misused by asylum seekers/refugee
have no restrictions on where they can live, communities. Drug services do not normally
what benefits they are eligible for, or what record immigration status of users. Whilst drug
employment they can take up. Asylum seekers users from ethnic minority communities are
however, are subject to such restrictions and less likely to access drug services than white
of course have to live with the tension that users, refugees and asylum seekers are even
arises from not knowing how their status will less likely to access drug treatment services
be determined. due to lack of awareness, lack of relevant
languages and fear of jeopardising their
A report published in June 2004 showed that application or status.
three out of four asylum seekers were fleeing
countries in conflict. Afghanistan, Iraq and Police arrest data is also unreliable for the
Somalia have been in the top five refugee- same reasons; numbers of people arrested
producing countries for the past three years. for drugs offences are not considered to be
War, human rights abuses and the repression an accurate indication of numbers using or
of ethnic minority communities are common dealing in drugs.
to all these countries17.

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Problematic drug use is increasing within the Travelling community. Although drugs are perceived
to be more of an issue among young men, anecdotal evidence suggests that both girls and
older men and women are also developing drug misuse problems.

Many Travellers fail to access services, largely due to mistrust coupled with a lack of knowledge
and fear of what will happen to them once they are “in the system”. Additionally, traditions of
self-reliance mean that Travellers are unlikely to seek help from outside the community. Parents
are often reluctant to ask for help if a child is taking drugs for fear that other children will be
taken into care. They will often try to get their child away from drugs without outside support.

Recent research18 suggests that, due to stigma, fear and insufficient knowledge, Travellers often
feel helpless in the face of drugs and drug misuse. During a series of interviews, the research
established that:

• Misuse of illegal drugs is widely reported, particularly among young men within the Travelling
community: ‘dope’ or ‘hash’, but also ‘smack’ and heroin, were specifically mentioned.
Younger Travellers were said to mix more with people in houses now, while young lads are
said to “go clubbing and get drugged up”
• Drugs are widely feared because of the devastating impact they can have on families
• Shame, anticipated rejection and the fear of placing an extra burden on family members
means that drug misuse often remains a hidden problem
• Many Gypsies and Travellers expressed a desire for a clinic or service that they could access
without fear of the community being aware


• While no official figures exist on the size cultural and social backgrounds who
of the Traveller population, it has been have taken up a nomadic life over the
suggested that there are more than 300,000 last 40 years
Gypsies and Travellers living in Britain today • As many as 100,000 Travellers have no safe,
• Gypsies often prefer to be known as ‘Roma’ legal or secure stopping place, potentially
or ‘Romani’ lacking access to water, refuse disposal or
• Roma are descendents of the ancient warrior other essential amenities
classes of the Punjab: their language, religion, • Compared to mainstream communities,
and customs have roots in Northern India travelling communities face: lower life
• The term ‘New Travellers’ refers to a growing expectancy; higher birth rate and infant
community of people from a range of mortality; high incidence of chronic illnesses,

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such as respiratory disease, rheumatism, and Subsequently, Travellers have had to move into
digestive illness more diverse employment opportunities.
• Smoking is common and drug misuse
is an issue As recently as the 1960’s, Gypsies and Travellers
• Travellers can have difficulty accessing had a right to pull up on all Common land.
education for their children due to being This right has been gradually eroded and the
on the road, and often lack support on enactment of the Criminal Justice and Public
issues such as bullying or exclusion Order Act (1994) effectively means that there
are very few legal stopping places and that
ORIGINS local authorities no longer have a legal duty
to provide sites for Travellers.
It is thought that Gypsies first arrived in Britain
as part of a wave of migration from India IDENTITY, FAMILY AND FAITH
about 600 years ago. These pioneering Gypsies
are believed to have travelled through the The legal definition of a Gypsy is “persons
Middle East and Europe before finally reaching of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race
the British Isles. or origin”19. This definition is explicitly concerned
with habitual lifestyle rather than ethnicity,
Ethnic Gypsies were first recorded in Britain and may include both ‘born’ Gypsies or
around the year 1500. In 1989, Romany Gypsies Travellers and ‘elective’ travellers, such as
were recognised as an ethnic group under the the so-called New (Age) Travellers. There
Race Relations Act 1976. Irish Travellers were is also an ethnic definition for both Gypsies and
accepted as an ethnic group under race- Travellers, with formal recognition under race-
relations legislation in August 2000. relations legislation.

DEMOGRAPHICS AND SOCIO-ECONOMICS The Travelling community is organised along

traditional lines. The family and home is the
Research has shown that Gypsies are one of domain of women, while men are responsible
the most socially excluded and disengaged for earning money. Travelling people have
groups in the UK, mainly due to: very strict conventions about what can be
discussed and with whom. For example, it
• Basic socio-demographic factors would not be appropriate for a female health
• Poor health visitor to attempt to discuss issues such as
• Prejudice and discrimination on the part prostate cancer with a male Traveller.
of the settled community
• Very poor living conditions on both
authorised and unauthorised sites

Traditionally, Travellers integrated with the local

rural economy via seasonal agricultural labour,
and also by supplying other needs of the rural
population. With increasing mechanisation, the
need for seasonal labour slackened during the
1950’s and many Travellers had to leave the
rural for the urban and semi-urban environment.

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Many Gypsies and Travellers are afraid of being
corrupted by outside influences, and so do not
seek integration. Members of the community
also fear that public admission of being Romani
will single them out for discrimination.

This deliberate separation and distance from

mainstream society places the Travelling
community at a greater disadvantage to other,
less separatist ethnic minority communities.
Slowly, however, many Romani people are
beginning to integrate and participate in
mainstream society without compromising their
cultural identity.
The majority of the Romani community rely
heavily on distinctions between behaviour that Irish Travellers traditionally follow the Roman
is pure,‘vujo’ or ‘wuzho’, and behaviour that Catholic faith, while evangelical Christianity has
is polluted,‘marimé’ or ‘mokadi’. Roma define been on the rise in recent years among Romani
themselves in part by their adherence to these communities.
cleanliness rituals. There may be class distinctions
among some Roma, based on how strictly
individuals or families maintain divisions
between purity and impurity.


Generation Younger Older
Principal language of communication English English
Key communication medium Audio cassette Audio cassette
Video Video
Specialist media
Print media: Travellers Times – Quarterly magazine for Gypsies and Travellers and the people
who work with them. Information on all subjects of interest to the community, plus health and
wellbeing messages Tel: 01432 344 039 Web:
DOs and DON’Ts
• The Travelling community has a deep mistrust of mainstream services and providers and often
expects prejudice from them. A positive, non-judgmental attitude from drug workers is vital
• It would be considered highly inappropriate for a male worker to be alone with an unmarried
Romani woman
• Men would feel uncomfortable discussing intimate problems with a female worker

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The Travelling community is Cambridgeshire’s largest ethnic minority group. Community Development
Workers often report concerns voiced by Travellers about drug misuse and the need for appropriate
education, prevention and treatment pathways.

Few members of the local Travelling community access available services. There are a number
of reasons for this, including:

• Rates of literacy among the Travelling community are low. Standard approaches to education
and information by the printed word are therefore inappropriate and ineffective
• There is a lack about knowledge of what drug services are on offer, and a common perception
that services and treatment must cost money
• There is often a failure, both by individual Travellers and within the community as a whole,
to admit to drug problems when they exist
• Other concerns of Traveller life, such as water supply, food and fuel, tend to take priority over
seeking help for drug problems

In an attempt to address the situation, Cambridgeshire DAT came up with the idea of employing
a part-time project worker to work within the Travelling community and with drug agencies across
Cambridgeshire. A primary aim of the project is to empower members of the Travelling community
themselves to tell drug service providers what the community wants to know and the services and
treatments the community wants to access.

The idea is equip these community members to be ‘knowledge facilitators’ who help the rest of the
community identify and access the information it needs. This Drugs Liaison Work with the Travelling
community is an extension of the current community development approach; an approach that
has a proven and successful methodology for increasing the take-up of services by the Travelling
community and providing culturally appropriate information.

The project worker will provide advice, information and support relating to drug misuse and the
Travelling community; collect information on needs within the Travelling community; inform the
Travelling community about drug health issues and the services available; support Travellers in
accessing specialist services; and work with treatment service providers to improve their
understanding of issues within the Travelling community.

The most effective means of communication within the Travelling community is word of mouth.
A project worker and community development workers operating in the community are therefore
the best means of communicating with the target group. CDs and tapes will also be used as
methods of spreading awareness of drugs and drugs services.

For more information, contact: Vicky Crompton, DAT Coordinator, Cambridgeshire DAT
Tel: 01223 718225 Email:

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DRUG MISUSE20* as a route to gaining acceptance and feeling

connected. Some lesbian women even say
As with mainstream communities, there are that if they were to stop their drinking or drug
broadly two types of drug use within LGB taking, they would be isolated from ‘the scene’.
communities: recreational drug use, In this respect, LGB substance misuse can be
associated with friends, patterns of work seen as essentially a consequence of lifestyle
and relaxation, and problematic drug use, rather than a consequence of sexuality.
triggered by emotional difficulties, issues of
identity and self-esteem. Research studies Nevertheless, research has also found that
have found, however, that people from the some gay men use alcohol or drugs to
LGB community are much more likely than enhance their sexual experiences and to
the general population to misuse drugs and forget about the risk of HIV/AIDS, while gay
alcohol. There are several reasons for this. men with HIV/AIDS may want to live to the
For one, members of LGB communities full and use legal and illegal substances
are known to experience greater amounts to maximise the pleasure they derive from
of stress than the general population. It is social and sexual experiences. Polydrug use
thought that the belief that drugs will reduce for the pleasure-enhancement can often
this stress, and help overcome low self- lead to unsafe sex, while there is increasing
esteem, depression, anxiety and confusion concern about the use of ‘date-rape’ drugs
surrounding issues of sexuality and identity, such as GHB and Rohypnol among gay men
often leads members of the LGB community and women.
into substance misuse.

The frequent use of pubs, clubs and bars

as the central social and cultural spaces
for the gay community is also considered to
be a very strong factor in alcohol and drug
misuse. Styles of drinking, and the perception
that alcohol or other drugs are indispensable
to having ‘a good time’, create a social
climate where substance misuse can often
be seen as the norm. Indeed, acceptance
and normalisation of drug and alcohol
misuse, whereby it’s okay to be ‘off your
face’, is higher among LGB communities
than among the rest of the population. Given
the cultural centrality of drugs and alcohol
among the LGB community, experimentation
and excessive consumption could be seen

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While studies have yet to offer concrete identification of drugs specifically and exclusively used by
the LGB communities, connections can be made between particular drugs and specific contexts,
such as the club scene, where dance drugs (e.g. ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD) are extremely
popular. Other drugs associated with the LGB communities include: cannabis, speed, ketamine,
cocaine, steroids, GHB and heroin. However, there are divergences in patterns of use around the
country and within LGB constituents. Ketamine, for instance, causes problems in London while
being virtually unheard-of in other parts of the country.

Among the lesbian community, alcohol is widely seen to be the most problematic drug of all –
far more so than any illegal substance. Meanwhile, competitiveness over body image (particularly
male) may also increase the use of steroids to build the body or amphetamines to ward off fat.


• Many studies have been conducted to
establish the size of the LGB community in Stereotypes
Britain, and while statistics differ, the majority Thanks to popular media misrepresentations,
of evidence indicates that lesbian, gay and heterosexual assumptions and general
bisexual people account for roughly 7% of misunderstanding, LGB communities have
the total UK population19 become frequently and easily stereotyped.
• Several research studies have found that However, these communities in the UK represent
lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are more a wide variety of people and behaviours,
vulnerable to stress. The main causes of and programmes of engagement and
this stress, contributing directly to drug and communication based on stereotypes will be
alcohol misuse within the LGB community, neither useful nor productive. Labelling and
include: making sweeping statements of any kind
should be avoided at all costs.
- Homophobia (internalised and externalised;
perceived and actual) Reaching LGB communities
- The ‘coming out’ process While the first port of call for accessing LGB
- Diminished familial, social, or religious support communities should be openly gay bars, clubs
- Fears about HIV/AIDS and venues, events or areas of towns, every
- Leading a double life (particularly in the effort should be made to reach the many
case of individuals who are married, have different types of people who make up the
a family or work in an environment where majority of this group. This will mean thinking
they fear rejection), and feeling unable to about alternative lifestyles, venues, forums and
be completely open about their sexuality events beyond the more obvious and visible
- Issues of identity, especially during locus of ‘the scene’.

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The Lesbian Community
It is important to bear in mind that lesbians can INFORMATION GAPS
be a challenging, closed, defensive and difficult
group to reach and communicate with. This While research studies have indicated
may be the result of a self-perception, common that higher levels of drug use and
experimentation exist amongst lesbians
among gay women, of being a minority within
and gay men than among the general
a minority. Certainly, gay women often report
population, for planning purposes it would
feeling inadequately represented by existing be helpful to quantify the extent of the
LGB groups, which they perceive to be focused problem by commissioning a survey among
on and primarily catering for the gay male the local LGB population.
community. Communications activities
targeting lesbian-only venues, or promoting One of the key issues is how DATs can make
lesbian-specific initiatives, are highly advisable. their services more sensitive to the LGB
community. Further research is needed
Transgender Communities to help ascertain:
Transgender communities view themselves
as being significantly different from LGB • To what extent DATs should provide LGB-
specific services versus non LGB-specific
communities, and are very sensitive about
lumped under the same umbrella. They believe
• Whether DATs should monitor the sexuality
that theirs is a gender issue, not a sexuality of service users
issue, and that their choices and behaviour • The key characteristics of a LGB-friendly
are independent of sexual preference. service
• How the needs of the LGB community
The Internet can best be integrated at a strategic
The internet is a very powerful medium among planning level
the LGB communities. It serves as an important
tool for mobilising and informing, while also
being a highly effective means of making social
arrangements and publicising events.

Other Issues
While drug use is the number one concern
for people working in conjunction with FRANK,
for LGB communities other issues (such as
discrimination, self-esteem, identity and ‘coming
out’) are much more important. Drug-related
issues are secondary to these more immediate
preoccupations. It is also important that, in
the context of LGB communities, drug use
is associated first and foremost with lifestyle,
rather than with sexuality.

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The following ideas on best practice in engaging with the LGB community are highlighted in current
literature and practice to encourage members of the LGB community to access services and to
deal with issues such as homophobia.


Training for service • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture
providers on how to • The effects of homophobia
serve lesbian, gay • Other issues important to LGB clients, such as concepts
and bisexual clients of domestic partnership

Written policies • Written policy of non-discrimination, displayed publicly in facilities

on equal opportunities and in literature
and non-discrimination • Equal opportunities policy for staff and clients, specifically sexuality

Targeted services • Developing an LGB-specific drug service, and marketing it as such

• Encourage generic services to be LGB-friendly, and then offer
targeted literature to address specific needs. Some research has
suggested this solution is preferred to a gay-specific service by some
gay communities

Strategic • LGB-specific drug issues addressed at the strategic level, as well

consideration of LGB as at the provision level
community needs • Consultation and inclusion of representatives from the LGB
community on planning and advisory bodies

Monitoring sexual Opinions are mixed on this issue.

orientation • Some argue that monitoring is needed to determine levels of need
within LGB groups, and the effectiveness of targeted services
• Others have questioned the appropriateness and effectiveness
of a sexuality box on questionnaires, or a sexuality question in
one-to-one interviews

* The material in this section is based on research work-in-progress entitled Drugs and Sexuality,
currently being carried out by COI Communications. For further information, please contact:

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Antidote is based in Soho, central London – an area well known for its gay bars, clubs and strong
links with the gay community. The project’s aim is to reduce drug-related harm within the LGB
community by providing information, support and advice through relevant and targeted services.
It also works with generic service-providers to improve their ability to meet the needs of LGB clients
and so improve overall access to services for the community.

Antidote is staffed by a combination of paid staff and volunteers, and the project now includes:

• A drop-in advisory service

• Support groups, including a gay/bisexual men’s group, and a lesbian/bisexual women’s group
• Complementary therapy sessions (including acupuncture), to help clients maintain stress levels,
detox and generally recover
• A helpline
• One-to-one counselling
• Keyworking
• Referrals into counselling, treatment or other therapy services
• Training, consultancy and education for youth groups, youth professionals and a variety of
service providers

The Antidote training course enables participants to explore possible issues and barriers that
may arise when attempting to meet the needs of clients who identify themselves as lesbian,
gay, bisexual or transgender. These include:

• Attitudes and stereotypes about LGB people

• Examining the effects of homophobia
• Elements of good practice when working with LGB clients
• Other LGB specialist support
• The impact of the law on LGB clients

LGB drug users access the specific services provided by the project, feeling welcomed and
confident that their needs will be met. The targeted services complement each other well, moving
a client through from first contact to keyworking to support groups, and on to a range of therapies.
All of these combine to improve the client’s chances of making a full recovery.

Antidote now provides a full training course for agencies and groups wanting to develop targeted
services and improve access for the LGB community. The project’s training and consultancy role
allows it to share good practice and help move drug services provision towards a position where
LGB uses feel they can access treatment anytime, anywhere.

For more information, contact: Monty Moncriffe Tel: 020 7287 8743

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• There are around 10 million disabled people

• It is not possible to generalise – disabled
It is suggested that drug misuse among people are found in all areas of society
disabled people is higher than the general and in all parts of the country. Unlike many
population. However, most evidence is ethnic minority communities, they do not
anecdotal and there is a lack of reliable congregate in particular areas, nor do they
evidence to support this assumption. Surveys share a common culture*
that do exist have generally been small scale • Many people covered by the Disability
and often from the USA. The only substantial Discrimination Act do not consider themselves
body of British research tends to concern disabled or may not wish to disclose their
dual diagnosis relating to mental health and disability. This can make disabled people
drug misuse.What evidence there is suggests more difficult to identify and to target than
that the primary causes of drug misuse people from ethnic minority communities
among disabled people (apart from those
* There are concentrations of Deaf people in a very few
which apply to the population in general) are: areas and there is a Deaf culture.

• Additional stress related to disability

• A search for pain relief ENGAGING AND COMMUNICATING WITH
• The nature of the disabilities, such as DISABLED PEOPLE
mental health and learning disabilities
When planning work it is crucial to be aware
When disabled people rely on personal care of the communications needs of disabled
within the family or from carers, access to people. When arranging the content,
drugs is generally more difficult. The recent distribution or format of communications, bear
moves towards care in the community, rather in mind those who may require extra help or
than institutional care, means that some information, including people who:
people with learning disabilities and mental
health problems may have greater exposure • Have difficulty reading because they have a
and access to a wider range of illicit drugs. visual impairment, have a learning disability,
are profoundly deaf and use British Sign
Disability may itself occur as a result of drug Language as their first language, or have
misuse and some disabled people may take a low standard of literacy
prescribed drugs relating to their disability or • Cannot hear spoken information, nor use
for pain control. It is important to take these a voice telephone because they are deaf
considerations into account when providing or hard of hearing
services for disabled people. • Cannot see text, images or moving pictures
• Have a speech impairment and therefore
find it difficult to use a phone or call a helpline
• Have dexterity problems making it difficult
Remember, some people may have
for them to hold or manipulate a printed
invisible or multiple disabilities.
document or use a keyboard

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Companies and organisations providing goods,
• Involve disabled people in planning and facilities or services to the general public have
decision making duties under the DDA. It is unlawful, for instance,
• Improve accessibility of services, premises to refuse to serve a disabled person or provide
and information a lower standard of service because of their
• Make sure clients understand any disability, unless this can be justified. Duties are
information or advice you give them. also in place to ensure that employers, product,
• Ensure all information is in plain language facility or service providers make ‘reasonable
and clearly presented adjustments’ in the way they provide their
• Publicise the existence of accessible services to disabled people.
formats (via mainstream publications as well
as through organisations for disabled people) Changes to the DDA came into force in October
• Don’t label materials in alternative formats 2004, extending the scope of the legislation
as specially for disabled people to encompass employers with fewer than 15
• Target carers, and medical or social workers employees, and introducing new duties. The
• Make it easier for disabled people new duties are all about physical access. Now,
(especially adolescents) to talk about reasonable adjustments may have to be made
their substance misuse. This can be done to make a service more accessible by removing,
through disability awareness training, and altering or helping avoid any physical barriers
providing a confidential setting preventing use by disabled people. Where this
• Integrate treatment processes and referral is not possible, services may have to be
relationships – eg between psychiatric provided in a reasonable alternative way.
services and drug misuse services If a disabled person believes that they have
• Include disabled people in your workforce been discriminated against because of their
• Be flexible disability, they can take the case to an
employment tribunal or sue through the civil
Important measures for certain groups courts and may be awarded compensation.
of people with disabilities include:
• Mental health nurses can play a key role in
the early recognition and management of ‘Reasonable’ means whatever is practical and
drug misuse amongst mentally ill patients affordable. However, many physical changes to
• Provide drug prevention and intervention premises are simple and low cost eg changing
services for young people disabled people the height of a door handle so that a wheelchair
as part of their regular educational or user can reach it, keeping aisles clutter-free and
rehabilitation programme putting handrails up staircases. Employment
• Recognise that drug misuse that may be changes can also be straightforward, such as
denied by the user due to potential stigma allowing someone time off for treatment,
providing work-related information in an
See the loose sheet ‘Communicating with Disabled accessible format (large print, braille or audio)
People’ in this Update for further information.
and holding interviews in an accessible location.

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2 Smart 4 Drugs (2S4D) is an inclusive and innovative drug education programme devised and
delivered by Essex Police in partnership with Essex FM. Now in its ninth year of activity, 2S4D targets
11-13 year olds across the county, raising awareness of drugs and drug-related issues through
theatre, music, dance and sport.

Combining vibrant, interactive roadshows with follow-up work in schools, 2S4D equips young people
with the facts and information necessary to make their own informed decisions about drugs. As a
key component of the roadshows, theatre performances are used to deliver drug education
messages in accessible and engaging formats, with scripts being constantly updated and
adapted to keep pace with local trends. On-stage sports activities, often involving the local ice
hockey team, are then used to deliver the message that sport and drugs don’t mix. The idea that
personal performance and ambitions are inhibited, rather than enhanced, by drugs is reinforced
by the ubiquitous role model figures (dancers, singers, hockey players, Radio DJs) who participate
in the events and interact with the school-children.

The project as a whole sets out to engage and empower as many young people as possible,
actively catering for those with disabilities, special needs and problematic behavioural tendencies.
An in-depth needs assessment of each participating school is carried out prior to every roadshow,
with wheelchair access and stage-lifts provided where necessary. At each venue, seating is carefully
arranged to allow space for wheelchair-users, and wherever possible 2S4D workers encourage
total integration of able and non-able bodied members of the audience.

Every child who wants to participate in on-stage activities is given the opportunity to do so, with
mental or physical disabilities never considered a barrier to inclusion. Deaf children are able to
follow events by lip-reading and rhythmic appreciation, while plans are a-foot to introduce visual
transcript screens for deaf or hard-of hearing children in the near future.

2S4D employs a multi-agency approach to tackling drugs and disseminating core education
messages and materials. Essex Police are the major contributors, with Essex FM matching the project
costs in airtime, using allocated radio slots to help promote 2S4D and plug the FRANK helpline.
Essex Police and Essex, Southend and Thurrock DATs contribute to the costs of the roadshow events,
while local councils provide free or subsidised venues. The passionate and continued support
received from local schools, business and the general public is testament to the success of 2S4D
and the sense of value, trust and excitement that has built up around the project over the years.

In 2004, 15,000 children attended 2S4D, which is four-times the usual number, and equates to about
half of the county’s children in the 11 to 13 year-old age range. Larger venues commensurate with
the project’s ambitions, such as theatres and sports centres, have been sought and filled, and for
2005 a new comedy slot has been built into the roadshow fixture. Comedian Mike Gunn, resident
at the Comedy store and an ex-drug user himself, will be working with school children across the
county, amusing and informing them as he tells his story.

For further information, contact: Victoria C Wilson Tel: 01245 452194


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Currently, the official languages in the UK are English, Welsh, Gaelic (Scottish
and Irish), Lowland Scots, Ulster Scots and Cornish. In March 2003, the
government also committed itself to recognising British Sign Language (BSL) as
a language in its own right and to give careful consideration to any proposals
the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional or Minority Languages may make.

There is no ‘official’ list of languages that all levels of fluency in English with over three
government departments and public bodies quarters of the population being comfortable
use. In addition, literacy can be an issue in any both reading and speaking the language.
language. It is estimated that one adult in five
in England is not functionally literate7. This means As the language of Bollywood movies, Hindi is
some seven million people would be unable to broadly understood by many within the South
find a page reference for a plumber if they were Asian community. For this reason, many British-
given the index to the Yellow Pages. based Indian radio stations broadcast in Hindi.

It is good practice to be aware of the language Punjabi is the primary spoken language for
needs and literacy levels of the communities over half of the British Pakistani community.
you are dealing with and to consider how best Urdu is spoken by the rest of the British Pakistani
to communicate with them. It is always best to community and is the language of education
write in plain language. You may wish to consult and literacy. It is most likely to be used by those
organisations such as the Plain English Campaign originating from urban rather than rural areas,
or consider using World English – a correct but and is the most common language read among
simplified form of English which has a very low older members of the community. The written form
reading age and is suitable for a wide range of of Punjabi in the Gurmukhi script, which is read
groups. Using plain language also helps keep by Sikhs, is not intelligible to Pakistani Punjabis.
costs down when translating materials into other
languages or transcribing them into other Within families there may be a range of
formats (eg braille, audio formats or BSL). different abilities in English and Mother Tongue.
A typical British Pakistani family, for example,
ASIAN COMMUNITIES might comprise a mother who speaks a dialect
of Punjabi which is not written, and who also
Among the Indian community in Britain, the speaks Urdu, reads some Urdu, but who neither
main spoken languages are Punjabi and reads nor speaks English; a father who is fluent
Gujarati. Although Hindi is the national in Punjabi and Urdu, reads Urdu, understands
language of India, Hindi speakers represent and speaks English reasonably well but has
a small minority of British Asians: a minority that limited literacy in English; younger children who
is mainly established within the professional are fluent and literate in English, who speak
middle-classes, and is fluent and literate in basic Urdu but do not read Urdu and an older
English. Overall, among all the ethnic minority cousin or uncle who is fluent and literate in
groups in Britain, Indian people have the highest English and Urdu.

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Among the Bangladeshi community in Britain, from the West Indies speak patois or Creole
the main spoken languages are Bengali and languages amongst themselves. These are
Sylheti. Bengali is the national language of traditional community languages which are
Bangladesh and the language of education continually evolving.
and literacy, while Sylheti is a spoken dialect
only. The Bangladeshi community has the lowest TRAVELLERS AND GYPSIES
English fluency and literacy of all the South
Asian communities in Britain. English Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers have
English as their mother tongue. Romany Gypsies
The Chinese community in Britain speak a traditionally speak the Romany language, but
number of languages and dialects. Cantonese, this is now less widespread and has always been
the language spoken in Hong Kong, is the most spoken alongside English. However, despite the
prevalent of these. Cantonese is spoken by 71 fact that English is the mother tongue of the
million worldwide, including 4.5% of the mainland Travelling community, there are high levels of
Chinese population. illiteracy due to poor access to education and
traditional values that prioritise practical skills.
Mandarin is the principal language of mainland
China, and is the world’s most commonly spoken BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE (BSL)
language. Most people in China, who don’t
speak Mandarin as their first language, can BSL is recognised by the government as an
speak or at least understand a conversation in official language in the UK. It is used by up to
Mandarin. This, however, is not the case in Hong 70,000 Deaf people, and a number of hearing
Kong, where Mandarin is rarely spoken or people, most of whom learn the language to
understood. Three quarters of Chinese people communicate with Deaf children, parents or
claim to speak English at least fairly well. siblings, or to act as interpreters between
hearing and Deaf people.
BSL is a visual-gestural language with its own
Within the UK Black African communities, there vocabulary and grammar in which the hands,
is considerable diversity. People originally came body, and facial expression are used to
from hundreds of different ethnic and language communicate. Sign language is not an
groups. Whilst there are many different languages, international language, and most countries
most Black Africans are also familiar with English have their own version.
(in particular those from Nigeria, Ghana and
Uganda). People from the Somali community Because English is the second language of
speak Somali, although a small number may many BSL users, levels of literacy are lower
also speak English, Italian or Arabic, reflecting among the Deaf Community than among
the chequered history of the country. the population as a whole. This is one of the
arguments for providing communications in
BLACK CARIBBEAN COMMUNITIES BSL rather than in spoken or written English.

English is the main language for Black

Caribbeans in the UK, and all have a good
command of spoken English. Historically people

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We hope the ideas in this section will help kickstart your own thinking
about ideas for communicating with diverse audiences. Do think about
your audiences, what you know about them and the particular issue you
are trying to communicate to them. Refer to the checklists included with
this Update for useful information on communications issues including the
barriers that you may need to consider. The vital statistics in this booklet will
also give you further information on the specific issues relating to different
groups. When developing your activities, always remember to consider the
issue of disability as a matter of course as this could be relevant to people
within any of the audiences that you target. Also be aware of multiple
discrimination which may affect some people.

WAYS OF ENGAGING COMMUNITIES • Identify the most appropriate format for

information. For some communities, bilingual
The Community Engagement Project has literature works well whereas others may
offered a number of recommendations for prefer information in audio or video format
effective engagement of hard-to-reach • Place drug information and advice among
audiences, particularly those from ethnic literature on other services - such as at a
minority communities. The following have health centre or local library - so that people
been highlighted as particularly useful. are not openly seen to be accessing drug
services. (This route is particularly preferred
• Take advantage of local cultural/religious by ethnic minority communities)
events such as melas or carnivals
• Use existing contacts through local See the loose sheet ‘Engaging Communities’
community groups in this Update for more information on the
• Use events such as Asian fashion shows Community Engagement Project.
and ‘Bollywood’ nights incorporating drug
themes (especially for targeted audiences USE THE MEDIA
such as young Pakistani females)
• Promote drug services through local Britain has a plethora of specialist media aimed
newsletters or Asian media to give the at specific regional ethnic groups, disabled
community a better understanding of people and their carers, and the LGB
the different types of interventions community. You may also find local branches
• Use local radio stations to create dialogue of disability organisations have their own
and discussions with the local community. publications. Read any local newspapers
To maintain anonymity, encourage callers and magazines that would be relevant to your
to phone in during break intervals rather than target audience and contact them to see
‘live’ on air. The issues can then be discussed if they would run a story on your activities.
after the break. This has worked well where
drug workers have used bilingual speakers/ You may also find radio stations in your area
community researchers to generate who have a specific ethnic audience. Stations
discussion within their community such as Choice in London (African-Caribbean),

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Spectrum (range of ethnic groups), Sabras in could talk at schools or at women’s groups,
Leicester (Asian) and Sunrise in Bradford (for the or at employers’ offices. It’s important to invest
Bengali community) could be useful to contact time to ensure that they are well supported
in addition to the BBC local and specialist network. and briefed and to be there yourself to answer
Radio also provides a good means of targeting questions, explore any opportunities that arise
people with visual impairments or people who and organise any relevant follow up. You could
are housebound. Talk to the promotions team, arrange similar presentations to your local Deaf
or the station manager and see if you could: club through a BSL interpreter.

• Organise a radio phone in to FRANK on Most places of worship are also community
the subject of ‘drugs and the community’ and informal education centres. Each religious
• Use their database to mail information, centre will usually have a central office with a
and their DJ’s to promote your events number of administrators. These will often be
1and activities on-air structured in areas of activity such as religious
• Use their roadshows and club events to instruction and prayer, education (especially
‘piggy back’ your communication to their religious education for young people) and
specialist audiences community and social work. Contact the
relevant administrator and offer to:

THINGS TO CONSIDER • Organise a 1 hour presentation and

Be aware that some communities may discussion on modern British youth culture
find it taboo to talk about the issue of and its impact on the younger generation
drugs so check first. The station manager in their community. Using music and video
or programme producer will be able to can help participants understand young
guide you on what is appropriate. people better and ‘bridge the divide’
• Explain the role of FRANK and arrange
a community discussion about the merits
• Work with specialist youth workers within the
A key issue in many ethnic groups is the place of worship to assist you in workshops.
‘generation divide’ between traditional Use the notice boards and mailers that are
members of the community and second often sent out, to publicise your events
or third generation young people from the
community who feel misunderstood by their Try approaching local employers – particularly
elders. See if you can bring together people in sectors – such as health, catering, construction
from across your region, to discuss jointly a and cleaning - which employ a large number
community strategy on communicating with of people from ethnic minority communities.
young people. Try a simple ‘Question Time’ Larger employers are likely to have
format with a number of local experts invited occupational health departments or specialists
(for example, include a religious leader, local whose remit is health in the workplace. Can
police, DAT rep, youth worker, young people you hold any events or distribute materials?
etc on the panel).
Can you recruit ‘ambassadors’ from the target There are issues for many Deaf people
group who are prepared to talk about their relating to confidentiality due to the fact
own experiences? This can be a very powerful that the Deaf community (those who use
way of bringing the issue alive. Ambassadors BSL) is very small and close-knit.

FRANK Action Update – Talking Diversity 43

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Ask your local community groups if you can
meet people to chat informally about their
Within some communities there are strict
views on drugs issues and what their community
rules about the roles of men and women
needs. It’s worth exploring whether you can
within the area of religion. In order to
attend a regular group so that you know
approach the women of these communities,
people will come and will be willing to talk.
it may be better to do so via organised
women’s activities or cultural events rather
than religious festivals.
Be sensitive to the ways in which people
from different generations communicate with
each other. There are sometimes protocols Check out the hobbies and activities of the
to follow and being aware of them will help target group. For young people sport can be
you maximise the opportunities of getting an excellent way in. For example, The London
generations to talk. Always take the advice Playing Fields Society enables refugees and
of representatives from the community with people from ethnic minorities to participate in
which you are aiming to communicate. football leagues.

Explore opportunities to help local communities

GO WHERE THE ACTION IS or local disability groups to make a video or a
radio documentary or launch their own website.
Look at where people from your targeted This could be in the written or spoken language
community hang out. Visit the corner shop, of that community and/or in BSL. It could cover
hairdressers, clubs, betting shops, cafes, video drugs issues in a ‘soft’ way rather than being
shops and record shops and see if you could explicit about drugs. Or maybe you could
have FRANK materials available for people organise an exhibition of art or photography
to pick up. around drug themes. Link up with any existing
creative projects or sponsor a competition
that would enable the winner to create their
Hairdressers’ shops and nail salons can be
especially popular with Black Caribbean
women so can be good places in which to THINGS TO CONSIDER
make contact. Promoting drugs in a ‘soft’ way can help
you get the subject on the agenda with any
group who may not find it acceptable (or
Check out any upcoming cultural events or interesting) otherwise. Be creative and seek
religious festivals. These might be ones aimed alternative opportunities to a blatant ‘drug
at ethnic minority audiences, the disabled or awareness’ activity.
people from the LGB community or mainstream
events that would be attended by people from
these communities eg pop festivals. Contact the Approach the people who already work with
relevant faith leaders and explore whether there the communities you want to target. Contact
are opportunities to reach out to people. Talk to health visitors, youth workers, local beat officers,
the event organisers. Are there opportunities to women’s support groups, GPs and practice
promote your messages, distribute your materials, nurses and job centres. See if you can
have a stand, run a quiz or competition? encourage them to carry FRANK materials
or the campaign contact details.

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Talk to the local groups of national disability Traditional music events will provide an
charities and see how you can fit in with their opportunity to reach, especially parents and
work. You could arrange to talk informally to first generation people from ethnic groups.
their members or maybe get an article about How about arranging a music event which
FRANK in their newsletter or on their website. brings together older and younger people
They may also be able to help you source case through ‘cross over’ music, ie dance music
studies of local disabled people who have which incorporates traditional elements.
used drugs. Don’t forget to check if celebrities
who support them could also support you. Try working with a theatre group that
specialises in productions for people from
All ethnic minority groups have speciality ethnic minority communities, disabled people
foods and shops for purchasing ingredients. or for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
Work with the stores and wholesalers to leaflet people. Can you produce a play – perhaps
or sticker produce with the message you want with time for discussion and debate about
to get through, particularly to older or first the issues raised? In some such projects, the
generation people. actors will come out to talk to the audience
in character to explore the issues raised.
You could consider plays for young people in
THINGS TO CONSIDER schools, or working with a local employer to
With any public event or forum, make show the play in a canteen or communal area.
sure you consider issues of accessibility This could provide a strong hook for involving
for disabled people. This isn’t just limited the local media.
to mobility; also be aware of less obvious
conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes, for
example, which can have effects on vision. THINGS TO CONSIDER
The majority of ethnic minority communities,
LGB and disabled people read mostly
Supporting a national team or a particular mainstream publications or watch mainstream
sport is a powerful form of community bonding. TV. Therefore, such communications also need
Small and major sporting events, where a to be inclusive and accessible.
particular community gather, is often a good
opportunity to get messages through to older
and younger members, (often fathers and
sons). Be bold, and ask to use the electronic Order the FRANK Drug Pack – an ‘easy reading’
board, or use leaflets, stickers and poster information pack for people with learning
opportunities. Get a team to sign posters, disabilities or low levels of literacy. Use the
shirts etc, which you can later use as prizes More FRANK order form in this Update or see
for other events you will run in the future.


FRANK is here to make sure that all parents, carers and young people, irrespective of ethnic origin
sexuality or disability, get the information and advice they need to deal with their concerns about
drugs. FRANK’s materials and activities are designed to give you backup for your own campaigns
in getting through to hard-to-reach groups. For more information, please ring the FRANK campaign
support line on 020 7035 0200, or email the FRANK campaign team at

FRANK Action Update – Talking Diversity 45

13438_FRANK_Main 11/4/05 8:29 am Page 46

Practical guidance on how to avoid CHINESE IN BRITAIN FORUM
discrimination against disabled people 1st Floor, Boardroom House
in accessing services or premises. Available 64 Broadway, Stratford, London E15 7NG
from the Stationery Office (ISBN 0-11-702860-6) 020 8432 0681
Research on effective communication COMMISSION FOR RACIAL EQUALITY
with ethnic minority communities. St Dunstans House, 201–211 Borough High Street
Available from COI Communications at London SE1 1GZ 020 7939 0000


Guidance and practical tips for regional
drug teams and DATs on working with diversity confederation_indian_org.html
PLUS an implementation tool. Download from IRISH TRAVELLER MOVEMENT (BRITAIN)
156-162 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 4JD
A guide to developing a strategy to meet
the needs of disabled clients. Available at GYPSY COUNCIL FOR EDUCATION, CULTURE, WELFARE AND CIVIC RIGHTS
European and UK Office, Avely Clinic
MULTICULTURAL MATTERS 8 Hall Road, Avely, Essex RM15 4HD
A monthly subscription-based newsletter 01708 868986
aimed at all professionals communicating
with or targeting specific communities within NATIONAL GYPSY COUNCIL
the UK. It covers all of the groups within Britain's Greenacres Caravan Park, Hapsford,
multicultural society. Helsby, Warrington WA6 0JS Tel 01937 842 782


Local information on every neighbourhood The Old Fire Station,150 Waterloo Road
in the UK. Produced by the Office for National London SE1 8SB
Statistics and based upon the 2001 Census. Tel 020 7654 7700


A good practice guide to making information CARIBBEANS (OBAC)
more accessible in the light of the Disability Gloucester House (1st Floor)
Discrimination Act. Available from the Stationery 8 Camberwell New Road
Office ( ISBN 0-11-702038-9) London SE5 0RZ

46 FRANK Action Update – Talking Diversity

13438_FRANK_Main 11/4/05 8:29 am Page 47

3 Bondway, London SW8 1SJ FOR DEAF PEOPLE) 19-23 Featherstone Street
London EC1Y 8SL
2 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PJ Helpline 0870 605 0123
020 7235 5122
230a Kentish Town Road,
Astral House, 1268 London Road
020 8679 8000 Litchurch Plaza, Litchurch Lane Derby DE24 8AA
01332 295 551
1-3 Worship Street, London EC2A 2AB
Voice: 020 7588 3520 NATIONAL INFORMATION FORUM Post Point 905, BT Burne House, Bell St
London NW1
Helpline 08457 622 633 (8am - 8pm Mon-Fri)
Fax: 08457 778 878
PO Box 5200, Northampton NN1 1ZB
123 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0RT C) SEXUALITY AND GENDER
020 7454 0454
12 City Forum, 250 City Road
London EC1V 8AF
020 7250 3222 STONEWALL 46 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0EB
020 7881 9440
105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
020 7388 1266

FRANK Action Update – Talking Diversity 47

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WEBSITES This listing is provided for information only.
Inclusion does not imply endorsement of resources listed.
A range of information on issues including
equality, asylum and immigration, mental And don’t forget for
health and human rights. information and advice on drugs. The FRANK
website contains accessible information on a wide range of drugs, practical advice on
Website celebrating, exploring and recording raising the issues, as well as a searchable
why people came to England, and what their database of local services.
experiences were and are now. The site looks
at the Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and South Asian
communities but is growing. REFERENCES 1 Commission for Racial Equality
2 ONS UK Census, 2001
Information and support for families whose 3 Research undertaken by the BBC, 2000
children are educated outside school. 4 Common Good Research, Turnstone Research and Consultancy
on behalf of COI Communications, 2003
5 Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom, 2003,
Home Office, 2004
Website of the Roma education network. 6 Disability Rights Commission, 2004
7 National Needs and Impact Survey of Literacy, Numeracy
and ICT Skills, DfES, 2003
8 Roma Education Network, 2000
Friends, Families and Travellers: leading 9 Fair Play Partnership, 2003
organisation working to address the problems 10 Delivering drug services to Black and minority ethnic communities,
facing Gypsy and Traveller communities. Drugs Prevention Advisory Service, Home Office, 2001
11 Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain - Updated Drug
Strategy 2002 12 Asian families and drugs, Turnstone Research and Consultancy
Website to support the education on behalf of COI and Department of Health, 2004
13 Black and minority ethnic groups in England: Second health
of Travellers and their children.
and lifestyle survey – Health Education Authority 1999)
14 Health and Lifestyles of the Chinese population in England (1999) SCPR on behalf of HEA
15 Drugs and alcohol – an issue for young black and ethnic
British Council website looking at languages
minority Scots, NHS Greater Glasgow, 2002
used in the family and in school in the UK. 16 Community engagement project carried out by the Wai Yin
Chinese Women Society in Manchester, 2001
The following websites have useful information 17 Refugee Council 2005
on disability and links to other sites: 18 The Health Status of Gypsies and Travellers in England:
Preliminary Report of Qualitative Findings (2004) Patrice Van
DISABILITY RIGHTS COMMISSION Cleemput, Kate Thomas, Glenys Parry, Jean Peters, Julia Moore,
Cindy Cooper, The University of Sheffield for Department of Health
19 Section 16, Caravan Sites Act, 1968
20 Drugs and Sexuality (research in progress) carried out by
BBC COI Communications
John Harris/ – page 1 ©
Jess Hurd/ – page 3,5 (both),7 (both),27,32,34,43
Conditions_and_Diseases/ Philip Wolmuth/ – page 9,16,23 (both),30
David Bocking/ – page 11
Paul Box/ – page 13
Janina Struck/ – page 17
Saulius T. Kondrotas/ – page 29
48 FRANK Action Update – Talking Diversity ©
Paul Mattsson/ – page 33