Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex and youngest son of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, inaugurated the latest satellite of the drug crisis prevention and counseling center known as Drugsline. The Gants Hill offices will also house Drugsline’s School’s Outreach Team.

Drugsline, brainchild of Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, is a project of Chabad-Lubavitch of Ilford. The group provides services for those struggling with drug addiction, and offers free, impartial support and information to concerned family and friends. Since its foundation in 1991, Drugsline has reached many thousands of people and has expanded its services to include education, counseling and support.

During his visit to the center the prince met with Drugsline staff and volunteers as well as children from the Chabad-Lubavitch nursery.

Rabbi Sufrin introduced the royal to an array of London VP’s, as well as Imam Haroon Rashid Patel, one of the collaborators in Drugsline’s recently launched 'Joining the Loop’ partnership, the only service in the United Kingdom to offer multi-lingual drugs support services specifically tailored for the needs of the Jewish and Muslim communities.

Drugsline’s Outreach Team leader Darren Gold displayed the 'drug kits’ his team use to aid their in-school education program and then expounded upon his own history with drugs.

"When I was an addict, stealing from my friends and family, I wish I had been able to turn to Drugsline," said Gold passionately. "I have been in recovery for nine years. When I started working at Drugsline in 2004 there were only two schools workers, including myself. We visited 12,000 school children that year. But this academic year the figure is already approaching 30,000 -– and our target for next year is 50,000."

Lisa Sharman, a student at Wanstead High School where the Drugsline Outreach team regularly visit, said, "Drugsline is a really important service; it is a lifeline for loads of kids. It is so good to see Drugsline honored with a royal visit, and I know they will carry on offering a very effective service."