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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Ad drive launched by celeb clinic
The Priory is launching its first national ad campaign
A drug and rehabilitation clinic favoured by celebrities is seeking to broaden its client list with its first ever nationwide ad campaign.

The Priory clinic has assisted Ronnie Wood, Paula Yates and former England footballer Paul Gascoigne.

Although fees at the clinic are thought to run to thousands of pounds a week, it is offering free assessments for people with drink and drugs problems.

A spokesman said it was trying to "draw attention" to mental health problems.

The Priory clinic in Roehampton, Surrey, is the best-known of its 16 treatment centres across the UK.

Other celebrities who have called on its services in the past include television presenter Michael Barrymore, model Kate Moss and writer and actress Caroline Aherne.

Fees for a week's stay for some clients reportedly approach 2,500 in some cases, although the clinic is keen to stress that every individual treatment package attracts a different price.

One of the adverts placed in the national press depict a smudged list of comments made by drinkers - followed by the line: "If this is all you can remember about last night, call the Priory".

Helping out

The Priory's spokesman, corporate communications manager Karen Croft, told BBC News Online that the company was publicising a helpline number - but it was not the intention to turn every caller into a client.

She said: "It could be that The Priory is not the most suitable place to help them - we might direct them to their GP, or perhaps to Alcoholics Anonymous, if that would work better for them."

"These people will be offered a full assessment of the type we offer to everyone who wishes to become a patient - including taking a brief medical history."

She said: "Our intention is to discover the extent of the problem and recommend the best course of action.

"We are simply hoping to raise awareness of the huge problem of alcohol and drug addiction in society."

A spokesman for Alcohol Concern said that it still feared the Priory would be too expensive for many who took up the offer of the free assessment.

"People will have to pay or go back to the waiting list," said a spokesman.

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