If you had a drug problem and wanted to tackle it, where would you fancy going to admit it and seek help? Perhaps you’d go to your family at home? Or maybe visit a doctor’s surgery? Or – if you’re rather an exhibitionist – you can now go along to a crowded shopping centre in Coventry where you can be publically “outed” whilst surrounded by oversized picture portraits, taken by those who are similarly drug-addled.
As part of a gimmicky nod to solving the drugs problem, Coventry City Council are pulling out all the stops by displaying an exhibition of photos taken by drug users, flanked by the obligatory drug workers, as part of “Tackling Drugs Week”, a branded initiative that is unlikely to produce any quantifiable results.
It’s all to do with “raising awareness” (as though drug addicts aren’t “aware” that they should probably lay off the drugs…). It’s touchy, feely and no doubt costly.
The details are given in an article in the Coventry Telegraph, the frankly named “Druggies’ pictures go on display”.
Councillor Andrew Williams says:
“The work we are doing to tackle drug misuse is a mix of activity to help ensure today’s young people don’t become tomorrow’s addicts.”
If that’s a full-proof argument we should give cameras to alcoholics, homeless people and anyone who might even be considered deviant, and display their work in every shopping centre in the country in order to “ensure” an end to all manner of problems.
But the truth is, this doesn’t look like a genuine outreach to drug users at all, or anything to do with promoting the treatments available – it smacks of a PR exercise by Coventry City Council who just want to be seen as taking action and playing a part in the National Tackling Drugs Week. It’s hardly targeted to drug users when they’ve plonked it in a completely conspicuous position in the very centre of town after all. ..
And just how much does this manned exhibition cost the non-drug taking taxpayer during the length of its run? This is really just another publicity bill for local residents who are, as it stands, paying to promote the image of their council when they’ve no choice over who provides their services?