Drugs Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 9th November 2001.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:33 am, 9th November 2001

It is difficult to single out an issue, but I have little doubt that unless we manage to get an effective message through to young people, drugs use will increase. A large part of our motivation is to improve the message and our ability to get it across, which is one reason why my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary decided to reclassify cannabis.

The Connexions initiative, which was set up in March 2000, provides a service to all young people aged 13 to 19 to help them to achieve in education and to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. All drug action team areas are developing young people's substance misuse plans based on central guidance to ensure that all young people requiring drugs services receive them.

We are clear about the need to warn young people that all drugs, including cannabis, are dangerous, but that class A drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, are the most harmful. Experience shows that preaching to young people does not work. The message must be credible and informative if they are going to listen. A communications campaign will be launched in December to spell out the risks and dangers of taking drugs. It will highlight the national drugs helpline, which provides young people, their parents and carers with access to straightforward, clear and credible information. The campaign will also support existing work being done to help young people tackle problems of drug misuse.