Drug Addiction (Advisory Committee)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th July 1966.

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Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North 12:00 am, 4th July 1966

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that drug addiction is largely a secret addiction; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the members of the advisory committee which he is about to appoint are neither addicts nor partial to the addiction.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

Members of this Committee will be carefully chosen after appropriate consultations.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Really! Does not my right hon. Friend realise that unless he publicly demonstrates that the members of this committee are free from this secret vice, their work will be ludicrous, futile and held up to public ridicule? What steps is my right hon. Friend taking in this case to investigate their possible addiction to this secret vice?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

If my hon. and learned Friend is right—that it is a secret vice—then it would be difficult to give him the proof for which he asks. However, neither my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary nor I have any reason to suppose that in this country so high a degree of secrecy as he suggests attaches to drug addiction.

Photo of Dr Shirley Summerskill Dr Shirley Summerskill , Halifax

Can my right hon. Friend give the reasons for the extremely long delay that occurred in appointing the members of this important advisory committee in view of the social and medical problems involved in drug addiction?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

I assure my hon. Friend that the reasons were solely concerned with the necessity to engage in proper and full consultations. As I told the House, I am aware of the urgency of this matter and I hope to make a statement before the House rises for the Summer Recess.