Lenny Henry plays it straight on drugs
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Drugsline executive director Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin with Lenny Henry
Comedian Lenny Henry raised some serious issues when he addressed the third annual dinner of Drugsline on Monday at the Millennium Hotel in London's West End.
Henry compared Drugsline's grassroots work in schools to the achievements of Comic Relief in helping to positively impact on future generations. To huge applause from the 200 guests, he announced that the schools team of the Redbridge-based charity had reached 47,000 pupils over the past academic year. It had also provided over 650 people with specialist counselling and trained 65 volunteers to respond to calls on its crisis line.
Urging greater support, he concluded: "Drugsline is an amazing charity."
Ilford North Tory MP Lee Scott also spoke and a film was screened featuring four very different people who had experienced addiction.
Drugsline executive director Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin noted: "There are far fewer people in this room tonight than in previous years, no doubt a direct result of financial challenges."
Yet the credit crunch would almost certainly increase the demand for its services - and "our community is not immune. This does happen to us and to people like us".
Speaking afterwards, Rabbi Sufrin stressed that the need to establish an operation in North-West London was greater than ever. As the dinner had not met it target, "we will have to go back to our donors and to our friends to meet this shortfall".