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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to this special reference edition of the FRANK Action Update. This
pack focuses on crack cocaine, and is primarily meant as an introduction to
the subject for the local organiser who is coming across crack cocaine issues
for the first time.

The drug, its effects on the individual, and the ways in which it is tackled, are
much misunderstood. We hope that you find the information and ideas in this
Update useful in helping to bust the myths that surround crack cocaine and
give you ideas for developing effective local action.

The effects of crack cocaine are not evenly felt across the country but in
certain areas it is a significant part of the local drug market. These areas tend to
be central urban areas facing complex problems of which a highly developed
class A drug market is a key factor. The effects of crack cocaine upon the
community as part of this market can be acute and require urgent attention.
With this in mind, this issue of the Action Update can be used by those working
in High Crack Areas as well as other parts of the country.

However, crack cocaine use is not confined to urban areas. Whether you are
in an urban or rural area, understanding the extent to which crack cocaine is a
feature of your local drug market is essential to planning your response. As crack
cocaine markets continue to develop, it is important to be prepared and, above
all, not to panic.

If you are already working with crack cocaine in your area, you will most
probably be familiar with much of the material. However, you may find some
sections useful in your existing work particularly the checklists and ideas for action.

Whatever your knowledge and experience of crack cocaine, we would really


like to know how you are getting on. If we get good ideas that have worked
locally we will make sure that this good practice is shared with you.

Thank you for your support for the campaign and don’t forget to visit
www.drugs.gov.uk/campaign for regular news and information about FRANK.

The FRANK campaign team

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FACTS

BUSTING THE MYTHS ABOUT CRACK


“CRACK IS BLACK”
The drug trade hits disadvantaged communities hardest and more often. Deprivation and
multiple drug use, not race, are the best predictors of problematic crack cocaine use.

CRACK COCAINE IS AN INNER-CITY DRUG


Originally, specialist agencies such as COCA found that their work took them to large cities
such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Nottingham. Now, they operate in towns and
communities all over the country. Crack cocaine use may be more concentrated in large,
deprived urban areas, but it is certainly not restricted to them.

ONLY POOR PEOPLE BECOME DEPENDENT ON CRACK COCAINE


Crack cocaine is more usually linked with poverty however its use is not confined to deprived areas
and occurs across the social spectrum. As with all drugs, maintaining a habit is a costly exercise.

CRACK COCAINE DEPENDENCY IS UNTREATABLE


Crack cocaine dependency is treatable. Although there are no confirmed pharmacological
interventions for crack cocaine dependence, psychological interventions such as cognitive
behavioural therapy (in which crack cocaine users are helped to understand how the drug
works, how to avoid triggers, cravings, and relapses) have been proven to be effective. As in
all drug treatment, adopting a whole life approach rather than a narrow medical
one is the key to success.

THERE ARE NO CRACK COCAINE SERVICES


Effective treatments for drug users are widely available. It is true that many services need to adjust
in order to meet the needs of crack cocaine users better. However, with current training schemes
and the utilisation of drug workers’ existing therapeutic skills, services are continually improving.

CRACK COCAINE IS NEW


In fact, crack cocaine has been used in Britain since the early 1980’s. In many ways taking
crack cocaine is simply another way of taking cocaine – albeit at a much higher dose level.
What is new is the trend of crack cocaine being used by established opiate users, and powder
cocaine users moving on to crack cocaine.
CRACK COCAINE IS INSTANTLY ADDICTIVE
Crack cocaine is highly psychologically addictive, causing strong cravings, and it also causes a
withdrawal syndrome (such as low mood and agitation) particularly with prolongd or heavy use.
Unlike those dependent on heroin (who experience prominent physical withdrawal symptoms),
periods of abstinence are normal for crack cocaine users. It is at such times that crack cocaine
users may seek treatment.

CRACK COCAINE CAUSES VIOLENCE


Crack cocaine does not, in itself, cause users to become violent. Unlike alcohol, crack cocaine
does not provoke violence through consumption alone. But the desperation and craving that
comes with crack cocaine can lead to violent behaviour, in the form of aggressive begging or
recourse to crime in order to fund a habit. Crack cocaine dealing, particularly on open-market
‘turf’, can also lead to violence, including intimidation of bystanders or local residents. However,
overall, alcohol is statistically much more associated with violence and violent crimes, while
experienced crack cocaine workers report that heroin users are generally more likely to
become violent in treatment centres. A small number of crack cocaine users can become
psychotic and this can be associated with aggression.

CRACK COCAINE IS ONLY SOLD IN CRACK HOUSES


The term ‘crack house’ is used very loosely. It can mean a building housing one or more
crack dealer and sex worker, or a house used for parties where crack cocaine may be used.
However, crack houses are not the only places where crack cocaine is sold. Crack cocaine is also
sold on the street, on the ‘open market’, or delivered to people’s homes, on the ‘closed market’.

BABIES BORN TO CRACK COCAINE USING MOTHERS ARE BRAIN-DAMAGED


In the late 1980s/early 1990s, it was widely reported that babies born to crack cocaine using
mothers would refuse to suckle and feed, and would invariably experience long-term brain
damage. It has since been shown that the scare-stories surrounding ‘crack baby syndrome’
were overblown, and more to do with public and professional reactions to crack cocaine
being used during pregnancy, than with factual evidence. However, crack cocaine and
cocaine use during pregnancy is particularly inadvisable, and may cause miscarriage,
low birth weight, premature birth or disturbed behaviour in newborn babies.

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Q&A
Q: What is crack cocaine, and how is it made?
?
A: Crack cocaine is a smokeable form of cocaine, and is made by baking powder cocaine into
rocks. When heated, these rocks ‘crack’, hence the name, and give off vapour, which is inhaled.
It can also be diluted with water and injected.

Q: Is crack cocaine a problem?


A: Although crack cocaine is not as widely used as heroin, its effects are very damaging
and hit the poorest communities the hardest. Crack cocaine use is not increasing throughout
the country, but those communities affected by it will certainly see it as a problem.

Q: Who controls the crack cocaine-markets?


A: The crack cocaine market is entirely controlled by dealers. Crack cocaine is very profitable,
and often local sex markets exploit women involved in prostitution who are dependent upon
the drug.

Q: What is a crack house?


A: A crack house is a building where crack cocaine is sold, manufactured or taken - maybe
even alongside other drugs.

Q: What is being done to tackle crack cocaine use?


A: The Government is funding the development of new treatment services, and there are
now new strategies in place to deliver training, materials and support across a network of local
agencies.‘Tackling Crack Cocaine: A National Plan’ was introduced in December 2002 and
aims to achieve:

• An increase in the number of people accessing drug treatment


• An increase in awareness of crack cocaine issues among young people
• A reduction in the number of young people starting to use crack cocaine
• A reduction in local availability of crack cocaine
• Greater public awareness of the realities of crack cocaine

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TIPS

COMMUNICATION CHECKLIST

Key messages Activities

Needs Assessment Assessing extent of crack • ‘snowballing’


cocaine use in the local •information from
community professionals
•information from community
leaders
•surveys

Communicating Education •local advertising of services


to drug users Harm Reduction (through the media, posters,
Treatment/services postcards, beer mats etc)
•literature highlighting effects
of crack cocaine
• peer to peer

Communicating Education •education sessions in schools:


to Young People Prevention all High Crack Areas to
feature crack cocaine in
education and prevention
•local advertising (highlighting
effects of crack cocaine)
•literature (highlighting effects
of crack cocaine)

Communicating Information and •education sessions in the


to Communities signposting workplace
•community health
information days
•literature (highlighting effects
of crack cocaine)
•local advertising (highlighting
effects of crack cocaine,
services)

Communicating Education •face to face meetings


to Professionals Treatment Services •discussion forums

Communicating Education •face to face meetings


to Decision Makers Harm Reduction •briefing sheets
Treatment/services • reports of activities

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MORE

TITLE & DESCRIPTION PRODUCT QUANTITY MAXIMUM


CODE ORDER
FRANK display kit
Starter pack of resources to help you spread the word
about FRANK, containing: 100 each of FRANK for young
people leaflets, FRANK for parents leaflets, and FRANK
with your mates credit cards and FRANK generic postcards;
20 sheets of FRANK stickers; 200 FRANK business cards
and 2 FRANK A3 posters. 31598 No limit
FRANK Pubs and Clubs kit
A kit containing a selection of ambient media resources
for use in pubs, bars and clubs. 40095 10
FRANK for young people leaflet
Leaflet encouraging young people to get in touch with FRANK. 31588 No limit
FRANK for parents leaflet
Leaflet encouraging parents to discuss drugs with their
children and to call FRANK for help and advice. 31589 No limit
Drugs – What the law says leaflet
What the law says and what it means. 34102 500
Young People’s Cannabis leaflet
Reclassification explained. 34104 500
FRANK parents’ guide to drugs and alcohol
Information about drugs and the law, plus practical advice on
understanding and talking to children at different key ages. 28251 200
The Score - facts about drugs
Leaflet aimed at 14-16 year olds. 20850 200
FRANK with your mates credit card
Credit card sized resource for young people to hand to their mates.... 31590 No limit
FRANK business card
Credit card sized resource highlighting how to get in touch
with FRANK, with blank reverse for extra or local information.
Additional languages can be downloaded online
at www.drugs.gov.uk/campaign.
English version 31591 No limit
Arabic version 31938 100
Somali version 31940 100
Gujurati version 31941 100
Bengali version 31943 100
Punjabi version 31944 100
Urdu version 31946 100
Chinese version 31948 100
FRANK poster (A3 size)
Highlighting the different ways to get in touch with FRANK. 31592 50
FRANK poster (A2 size)
Highlighting the different ways to get in touch with FRANK. 31593 20
FRANK poster (A2 size)
Slogan: Coke, E’s, heroin. FRANK sorts me out with all of them. 32481 50
FRANK poster (A3 size)
Slogan: Coke, E’s, heroin. FRANK sorts me out with all of them. 32482 50
FRANK poster (A2 size)
Slogan: When my mate offered me drugs FRANK told me what to do. 33871 50

CONTINUED OVER ➜
MORE

TITLE & DESCRIPTION PRODUCT QUANTITY MAXIMUM


CODE ORDER
FRANK poster (A3 size)
Slogan: When my sister wanted to do drugs,
I introduced her to FRANK. 32483 50
FRANK postcards:
A series of postcards with drugs messages.
Hi (generic message) 31594 No limit
The world’s got a coke problem (cocaine message) 31649 No limit
Smokin’ (heroin message) 31650 No limit
Skin up (cannabis message) 31651 No limit
I love rock (crack message) 31652 No limit
Hard on (cocaine message) 31653 No limit
Been there, done that (generic message) 31654 No limit
Take me (class A message) 31655 No limit
FRANK 1st Birthday card
FRANK birthday card to send to colleagues or anyone who has
supported your work this year. 40120 50
FRANK Action Update
Series of themed packs with ideas, background
briefing, resources, activities and tip sheets for
communications and awareness work in tandem with FRANK.
Summer: feel the heat!
Holidays, festivals, summer clubbing, off to college. 40096 10
We are Family
Dealing with drugs issues in the family. 33057 10
Understanding Diversity
Special reference edition on communicating
with diverse audiences. 33534 10
Party Safe – Party Sound!
Excess during the party season. 33861 10
Cannabis
Reclassification. 34331 30
Drugs – the deal for students
Focusing on drugs and other lifestyle issues at college
and university. Produced in association with NUS. 40012 10
Happy 1st Birthday FRANK!
A round-up and celebration of the first year of campaign
activities, statistics and a look ahead to year 2. 40142 10
Understanding Crack Cocaine
Special reference edition focusing on crack cocaine. 40280 10
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TO ORDER RESOURCES PLEASE FILL IN AND FAX THIS FORM TO NHS RESPONSELINE ON 01623 724 524

Alternatively you can place your order by phone, mail or email:


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London SE1 6XH
TELL

The key to raising awareness about drugs and changing behaviour is what
happens locally. That’s why local activity is vital to FRANK. We’re keen to hear
how you are using FRANK, and what the campaign is contributing to local
profile and awareness on drugs.
We also want to gather information and help spread the word about exciting and innovative communications
practice. If you have a local success story about public awareness or media relations, we would love to hear
from you. Stories which tie in with forthcoming bulletin themes (the community, communicating with vulnerable
young people and FRANK in the workplace) will be especially welcome – and with your permission may be
featured in our Movers and Shakers section, and in the success stories online at www.drugs.gov.uk. We look
forward to hearing from you!

How are you using the FRANK materials?

Can you describe any practical or strategic contribution that the FRANK campaign is making to local
activity (e.g. by providing useful resources, profile, or impetus)?

Do you have any examples of innovation, good practice or success in terms of communications,
media relations or public awareness work that you would like to share?

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ORGANISATION
ADDRESS

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PLEASE RETURN THIS FORM TO:


Home Office Communications
Room 239
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT
OR FAX TO: 020 7273 8192
You can also email your feedback and success stories to the FRANK campaign team
at frank@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk