A new community campaign has been built to tackle 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 University of Brighton – as well as businesses and charities throughout the city.
The campaign’s manager Jordan Lorence hopes they can inform communities about the lesser-known aspects of the 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 then 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 different approach 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 two film festivals: “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 from the Home Office has also followed, as well as an interview with ITV: “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.