Drug Advisory Councils

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th November 1986.

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Photo of Mr Tim Rathbone Mr Tim Rathbone , Lewes 12:00 am, 25th November 1986

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give a report on the achievements to date of the drug advisory councils.

Photo of Mrs Edwina Currie Mrs Edwina Currie , South Derbyshire

Drug advisory committees have been established now in 187 of the 192 health districts in England, and in all the health regions. These committees are responsible for three things; monitoring the prevalence of drug misuse locally, advising authorities on the development of services; and promoting collaboration between the various statutory and voluntary agencies working with drug misusers. All regions are expanding the services available to drug misusers and the Department is monitoring their development closely.

Photo of Mr Tim Rathbone Mr Tim Rathbone , Lewes

I welcome that statement from my hon. Friend. Will sufficient funds be made available in future years to continue this good work, which is something which is particularly difficult in those health authorities which are not funded up to resource allocation working party standards, particularly in the south of England?

Photo of Mrs Edwina Currie Mrs Edwina Currie , South Derbyshire

I know that my hon. Friend takes a close interest in this subject and has been working with the standing conference on drug abuse. I commend him for his efforts. We have allocated an additional £372,000 in this financial year to the South-East Thames regional health authority for drug misuse, and it has added £200,000 of its own money. I am delighted to say that every district in the region has set up drug advisory committees, which are making considerable progress.

Photo of Mrs Marion Roe Mrs Marion Roe , Broxbourne

Given the obvious concern about, and the threat to health posed by, the re-use of hypodermic needles by heroin addicts, has any progress been made in the development of needles that cannot be re-used?

Photo of Mrs Edwina Currie Mrs Edwina Currie , South Derbyshire

It is a matter of considerable concern to us that AIDS and other diseases may be passed on by re-usable needles. These matters are under consideration elsewhere and I believe that an announcement may be made shortly.