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Prevention is Better than Cure


Drug deaths in the UK in 2020
Drug poisoning deaths in England and Wales (2020)
Drug related deaths in Northern Ireland (2020)
Drug related deaths in Scotland (2020)


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DRUGS in our communities are a major concern and a dangerous public health issue. With drug related deaths ever increasing, health resources stretched and families torn apart by addiction, we ALL need to address this issue.

Many people are asking “What do drugs smell like?”

So to advance the understanding of the dangers of drugs, St Andrew Print has developed the UK's ONLY drug smelling scratch and sniff technology, as an additional tool to be integrated into drug awareness and prevention presentations and campaigns, called DRUGS – KNOW YOUR SMELLS, that features four separate drug fragrances: cannabis weed, ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamine. A UNIQUE interactive drug scented card is ideal for DRUG AWARENESS and PREVENTION in community engagement, education and training as, we have found, it generates many questions.

Although only some people may be aware of the cannabis smell, very few know the smells associated with ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamine. Even though some of these drugs are odourless, when consumed the body emits distinct, somewhat pungent smells in the form of body odour, thereby contaminating clothing. Ideal for schools and education, employers, parents, police forces and the licenced trade for training door security staff.

The four drug card smells are helpful in building community awareness to aid in the detection and reporting of Cannabis cultivation farms within local properties.

We know our cards can help educate the next generation and get a clear message to them from an early age whilst safeguarding young people regarding drug awareness.

Miles Briggs MSP for Lothian Scottish Conservative Chief Whip commented:

It is vital that we see improvements to Drug Education in Scottish Schools. I believe Drug Education Cards are a good idea to help improve school drug education resources and provide an interactive resource to help improve drug awareness especially amongst young people.

This proactive campaign is one of drug awareness, with the associated smells of certain drugs, either the smell of the drug itself, or the consequence of taking the drug, in the form of body odour emitted.


The campaign that instigated these cards took months of testing samples of different printed fragrances. Throughout the campaign development, we were guided by our client’s expert staff and drug addicts, interviewed doctors and pharmacists, sought advice from former police officers and gathered valuable input from university professors of chemistry.

We were advised that a distinctive body odour contaminated user's clothing, mainly through sweat, when taking amphetamine. Taking this information, we sourced various samples of fragrances for evaluation by our experts.

At the end of the process we delivered a campaign that was well received by them.

We have carefully selected smells that are very off-putting to PREVENT young people experimenting with these dangerous drugs. An early small investment in drug education can prevent addiction that requires a vastly more expensive ‘road to recovery’ route later.

Based in the UK, we are the only UK print supplier who produce educational drug scratch and sniff cards that give off the associated smells of FOUR drugs.

Our ‘Drug Smell Cards’ are produced using our latest printing technology - the cards are printed on both sides in full colour and infused with drug fragrances. Each smell lasts over 12 months and is released by scratching the card. These cards are a cost-effective drug education and prevention tool that can be reused numerous times over and over again.

The associated drug fragrances, used on our cards, do not contain any irritant ingredient and are harmless to humans and animals. Laboratory tests have proved all smells to be within the same limits set for normal household products such as detergent fabric cleaner and perfumes. Our cards can be safely recycled with other printed or plain paper and board in the normal paper recycling bin.

We know we cannot stop the supply of drugs but our cards can help to reduce crime. Our initiative is to avoid the pain and suffering that families must endure at the loss of a child, or family member, through the use of NPS or drug addiction, by reducing the demand for drugs through education and training.

We found NO drug is safe, including alcohol. According to various Drug Related Death Reports, from Government Departments, only a few number of deaths occur using only one drug. Mixing drugs causes a chemical reaction and alcohol is mentioned many times in toxicology reports. In addition, people’s body chemistry is different, hence allergies, some of which can kill you. So just because a friend is OK when taking a drug, does not mean to say that it is safe for everyone.


St Andrew Print's existing drug card users include:

• Police forces
• Public health
• Drug and alcohol action teams
• Community Safety Partnerships
• Councils
• Housing groups
• Education
• Drug Charities
• Drug Trainers


In 2020/21 there were 4,859 deaths due to drug misuse involving illegal drugs in England and Wales, the highest ever recorded, and 1,330 deaths in Scotland.  The latest figures from Northern Ireland recorded 218 deaths.

The North East of England still has the highest drug misuse mortality in England 2020/21 for the EIGHTHY year running?

Scotland’s mortalities increases year on year and is the highest rate in Europe. 

The Scottish Government spent over £22.5 million on costs and fees for the heroine substitute, methadone programme, for an estimated 24,721 methadone patients, yet methadone contributed to 44% of drug related deaths in Scotland.

It is estimated that over 3 million people have taken illicit drugs in England & Wales and Scotland has an estimated 57,500 problem drug users.

In England alone, there were 14,053 hospital admissions where diagnosis was poisoning by illicit drugs and an additional 82,135 admissions due to drug related mental health or behavioral disorders.

In Scotland there were 5,468 emergency ambulance calls for drug issues putting extreme pressures on valuable resources.

It is estimated in 2020/21 that alcohol and drug harm costs the UK £32 billion every year in lost productivity, crime and policing, and the NHS £4 billion. People with drug problems cost an estimated £827,000 over the course of their lifetime.

According to Audit Scotland, it is estimated that 168,200 hospital bed days, used by all people with drug problems, the total cost was over £88.8 million.

And one for parents, according to recent figures, the likelihood of pupils having ever taken drugs increases with age, from 11% of 11 year olds to 37% of 15 year olds. An estimated 580,000 secondary school aged pupils in England (24%), took at least one drug last year. Excluding nitrous oxide and new psychoactive substances, this figure drops to 15%. Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug, with 8% of secondary school pupils saying they took the drug in the last year, and 14% of 16 to 19 year olds.

The Children’s Society estimate there are 66,000 young people involved in County Lines, with some as young as 7 years old.

These are some of the outcomes from an NHS Digital’s Smoking, Drinking and Drug use among Young People (SDD) survey about young people who have taken drugs:

• 31% of pupils perceived it to be easy to get illegal drugs.

• Over half of 15 year olds (55%) thought it would be easy to get illegal drugs, compared with 8% of 11 year olds.

The following are all based on pupils who had taken drugs on more than one occasion:

• On the first occasion they tried drugs, 57% said they had got the drugs from a friend, with most of these being from a friend of the same age.

• Overall 11% said they got drugs from a dealer, but this was 29% where a class A drug was taken.

• 44% of pupils said they were outdoors (in a street, park or other outdoor area) when they last obtained drugs, by far the most common type of location. 12% said they obtained drugs whilst at school.


St Andrew Print are scratch and sniff specialist printers who collaborate with leading consultants having expertise in illegal drugs, health & wellbeing and community safety.

We can produce our drug awareness cards to a customised design and bespoke size to meet client’s corporate guidelines.

Our graphic design team will work closely with your marketing people to produce a design that is in keeping with your corporate image and to the highest quality printing standards.

To assist charities and non-profit organisations, we can offer a free print design service.

Prevention is Better than Cure

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