Campaign to tackle ‘social’ drug use in Camden begins

A new campaign will launch across Camden this week, aimed at those who come to Camden to buy or use drugs, asking them to consider the wider consequences, and the impact their decision has on others.

The campaign from Camden Council has been designed to complement the range of health and prevention campaigns that exist, moving away from focussing on the dangers to the individual, by highlighting the significant wider impacts you are contributing towards if you buy drugs in Camden.

Amongst those being targeted are visitors to the borough’s renowned night time economy, with the strong message that social or recreational drug taking often has much further reaching implications than just the, sometimes fatal, impact on the individual user or the immediate aftermath or clean up on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

The first phase of the campaign will see bus stop adverts and social media posts raising thought-provoking questions about the consequences that the recreational use of drugs on a night out in Camden can have on areas of society and our communities.

That includes those willingly or unwillingly involved in the supply chain, including victims of modern slavery. Or the gang violence and knife crime that is fuelled by drug sales and supply. Or related theft and criminal damage. Or the communities that have to live with this happening on their doorstep.

"We have launched this campaign as drug use and drug dealing remains of concern to our residents and communities, as does other associated crime. 

“Crime statistics highlight the problem, particularly in relation to wards that are home to our night time economy.  We need to look at new and innovative ways to tackle this issue.

“One way is to reach those people considering buying or using drugs in Camden and get them to recognise that, in addition to the public health impacts and police enforcement consequences of their actions, they also need to amend their behaviour due to the impact upon our communities.

“Their drug use goes beyond risking their own health and freedom, it also fuels the likes of modern slavery, gang violence, crime rates, and fear of crime amongst our residents. These are all things that they may not see, or may not have previously considered, but all are contributed to through their actions, and we hope we can change that behaviour via this campaign.”
Councillor Nadia Shah, Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities
“In 2016-17 there was a 159% increase in modern slavery offences in England and Wales. This exploitation and crime is often linked to the drugs trade, with both children and adults forced to work in the production and supply chain. Those buying drugs need to consider the implication of their actions, which go much further than the potential harm to themselves. Ultimately they are also harming lives of many others.”
Councillor Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion

In the last 12 months there were 1387 offences relating to drugs in Camden, with 685 of those taking place in the key night time economy wards of Camden Town with Primrose Hill, Bloomsbury or Holborn and Covent Garden.