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Boris Johnson to crack down on middle-class drug users

Boris Johnson wants to crack down on middle-class drug users with adverts aiming to make cocaine as socially unacceptable as drink-driving

  • The Prime Minister will launch a PR blitz to tackle illegal drug use by middle class
  • Wants to imitate successful drink-driving campaigns such as ‘THINK!’ adverts
  • Mr Johnson and several members of the cabinet have admitted to drug use in the past

The government is to launch a PR blitz against the blight of middle-class illegal drug use, it has been reported.

Boris Johnson is said to be planning the campaign with the hope of making taking cocaine as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

TV, radio and billboard adverts will target wealthy cocaine users who see the drug as a harmless weekend party habit by highlighting the violent crime and gang warfare that it is helping to fund. 

The Prime Minister hopes to imitate the successful drink-driving and road safety campaigns run by THINK! since 2000.

Boris Johnson is said to be planning the campaign with the hope of making snorting cocaine as socially unacceptable as drink-driving

The series of adverts vividly showing car crashes and the devastating results of intoxicated driving have brought road deaths to an all-time low. 

A government source told The Times: ‘In the late Eighties or early Nineties, if you got your car keys out at the bar after three or four pints, nobody would say anything. You can’t do that now. Even if you don’t say something to them, you’d definitely say something to someone else.

‘That’s not happening with drugs. We need to make them socially unacceptable. The PM wants to make it socially unacceptable to do drugs. 

The campaign has yet to be formalised, but talks are believed to be ongoing between No10 and the Home Office as part of a crackdown on illegal drug use.

The Prime Minister, who has previously said he tried cocaine at university, hopes to imitate the successful drink-driving and road safety campaigns run by THINK! since 2000

THINK! adverts, some of which vividly showing car crashes and the devastating results of intoxicated driving, have brought road deaths to an all-time low

Mr Johnson is one a number of current cabinet members who have previously admitted to drug use, though the majority have only spoken about smoking cannabis. 

In an appearance on Have I Got News For You, the then-Henley MP Mr Johnson said: ‘I think I was once given cocaine but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose…In fact, I may have been doing icing sugar.’

He later admitted to trying cocaine in an interview and when questioned on his previous jokey references said: ‘I thoroughly disagree with drugs. I don’t want my kids having drugs.’

In the 2019 Tory leadership race, then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove publicly admitted to cocaine use on several occasions.

He told the Mail at the time: ‘I took drugs on several occasions at social events more than 20 years ago. At the time I was a young journalist. It was a mistake. I look back and think “I wish I hadn’t done that”.’

In the 2019 Tory leadership race, then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove publicly admitted to cocaine use on several occasions

His admission is believed to have killed off rumours that he could be installed as Home Secretary to replace Priti Patel as the government plans to launch a campaign against middle-class drug use. 

The advertising campaign — to be launched later this year — will form part of a wider strategy to reduce the demand for drugs in the UK.

It comes as an extra £65 million of funding has been given to police forces tackling county lines drug gangs across the country. 

Senior police figures have previously been critical of middle-class drug users who shop ethically for food products or clothes, but will continue to take drugs that help fund organised crime.

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: ‘The supply of illegal drugs, irrespective of whether it’s for casual use or otherwise, will not be tolerated by police, and forces are committed to tackling this issue and the organised crime, violence and human trafficking that is frequently associated with it.’

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