The Government’s progressive ‘Talk to Frank’ drugs campaign was in tatters last night, after it was revealed that ‘Frank’ was in fact a drug-crazed heroin, methadone and crack addict.
The high profile ‘Talk to Frank’ helpline encouraged young people tempted by drugs, or experiencing drug-related problems to call a freephone number to discuss their problems. When the initiative was first proposed, the advertising agency suggested personalising the service in the hope that the idea of the fictional ‘Frank’ would give people extra confidence to call. But somewhere between idea and execution, a man who really was called ‘Frank’ was sought to answer the phones, ‘as long as he knew loads about drugs’.
The ‘drugs advisor’ the government actually hired, (full name ‘Frank Cartwright’) is actually a registered heroin and methadone addict, with a number of convictions for dealing in cannabis, crack speed and ecstasy.
‘This is a disaster’ admitted Junior Home Office Minister Jonathan Arnold, who is co-ordinating the Government’s Anti-Drugs strategy. ‘Young people calling Frank when curious about experimenting with drugs were told to get as ‘mashed up as possible. A teenager from Barnsley phoned the hotline last week wanting genuine advice and was simply told by Frank to ‘get on it’ and that he was ‘only young once’. He was then given specific advice on which drugs to combine and informed of the most interesting and novel places to shove them.’
If callers lived nearby, Frank offered to come by and sell them ‘some shit’ if ‘he was not too out of it’ If they were too far away, he told them the sort of places they might look for drugs and the sort of prices they might expect to pay.
The government have now sacked Frank Cartwright and are considering a public prosecution, as well as completely re-thinking their anti-drugs strategy. However, only Frank knew how to operate the digital telephone answering equipment and so callers to the hotline are still hearing Frank’s answerphone message; ‘Hi kids, Frank here. Thinking of trying heroin? Well you should, it’s great, there are no side effects and you feel fucking great.’