Anti-drugs Strategy

Oral Answers to Questions — Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st March 2001.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton 12:00 am, 21st March 2001

What new steps are under consideration in the Government's national anti-drugs strategy. [153307]

Photo of Dr Mo Mowlam Dr Mo Mowlam Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

The Government are undertaking research to develop a better understanding of the dynamics of the UK and international drugs market, which will improve our intelligence on the class A drugs threat assessment. The national treatment agency and pooled treatment budgets will come into effect on 1 April 2001. We announced in the Budget significant additional investment for targeted action at local and regional level. That will provide an opportunity to build on the experience of initiatives such as parents against drug abuse in south-west Cheshire.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

Studies show that one in 10 drivers under the age of 40 get behind the wheel having taken drugs ranging from cannabis to cocaine. Traces of drugs are found in one in five people killed on the roads. Will the Minister therefore introduce a national anti-drug driving campaign, bearing in mind the fact that young people have, on the whole, learned the lesson about not drinking and driving?

Photo of Dr Mo Mowlam Dr Mo Mowlam Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

The Government are researching the issue to which the hon. Lady refers. That is the best way of tackling the question of driving under the influence of drugs, legal or illegal, and of providing ways to help the police enforce existing legislation more effectively. It is now being developed alongside other initiatives.

Photo of Mrs Jackie Ballard Mrs Jackie Ballard Liberal Democrat, Taunton

Does the Minister for the Cabinet Office agree that the members of the Runciman commission were respected and knowledgeable people who undertook a detailed, independent, scientific study of the problems of drug use and abuse? If so, why have the Government rejected each of its recommendations out of hand?

Photo of Dr Mo Mowlam Dr Mo Mowlam Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

The Government implemented a large number of the Runciman recommendations. The few that we rejected included one on cannabis. Our approach is clear: the scientific evidence is insufficient to convince us that the law should be changed. However, that does not prevent discussion and debate. If the scientific evidence changes, we will reconsider the matter.