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A new community campaign has been built to educate residents about drug misuse in Brighton and Hove as the city continues to top regional charts.

The What’s in Your Pocket project is a collaboration of efforts from Sussex Police and the student led Bright Young Things – as well as businesses and charities throughout the city.

Campaigner Jordan Lorence hopes group can educate communities about lesser-known aspects of the drug trade:

“We are really focussing on what’s happening on the other side of the drug deal, what’s happening in the supply line. Debt bonding, coercion and cuckooing were main pillars of the campaign.”

This comes at a time when The Office for National Statistics published that there were 24 deaths from drug misuse in the city in 2019 alone – the highest in the South East (2020 figures are yet to be released).

In an effort to reduce these numbers, and to educate younger generations of the risks, Jordan believes the group are taking a fresh approach compared to previous anti-drug campaigns:

“There’s a lot of drug campaigns in the past that are sort of scare tactics. – like ‘if you take drugs you are going to die’.
“We aren’t trying to point the finger. We are just trying to start a conversation.”

The project’s film, produced by Smokescreen, has been included on the shortlist for London Rolling Film Festival 2021: “it’s great that the campaign is being picked up as much for its stylistic choice, as the topic it tackles – film festivals are a great way to get the word out there.”

Attention beyond the city has followed, including an interview with ITV.

Jordan said: “it’s really reassuring to see these people getting involved, with communities getting together and organisations like ITV showing an interest.”

It’s hoped that the rise in recognition will help to broaden the popularity, and more importantly spread the message, of the campaign beyond its current reach.

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May 2024