I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is the number of drug users treated by the drug dependence clinics rising or falling? Is any study being made of compulsory treatment for addicts?
Will the Minister confirm that the numbers going to treatment clinics are rising slowly and that the rise is a very small one? Will he consider looking into such facilities as those offered by the Phoenix House experiment—that is, a very stern hostel régime—as well as the possibility of compulsory treatment?
Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is absolutely no point in treating drug addicts in hospital and then sending them straight back to the environment where they learned to become drug addicts, and that they need some sort of bridging facilities? Will he look carefully at the amount of money which his Department is giving both to hospitals and to voluntary organisations and see whether he can be rather more generous so that more hostel places are provided?
I take the point about the necessity of establishing a continuum in this field. We are up to the standards which the Advisory Committee advised in regard to after-care treatment. The hon. Lady will appreciate that this is an extremely time-consuming operation and it really needs one-person-to-one-person attention to secure the full rehabilitation of a patient who has been cleared of addiction.
Could the hon. Gentleman make clear to local authorities the Government's continuing interest in encouraging any schemes, often suitable voluntary schemes, for hostel provision of this sort?
Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the problems about the opening of these hostels is that local authorities misunderstand their purpose, and could he do his best to bring to their attention what they are used for?