Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:23 pm on 29th October 2021.

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Photo of Ben Spencer Ben Spencer Conservative, Runnymede and Weybridge 2:23 pm, 29th October 2021

It is great to rise to speak on this very important Bill, which has been introduced by my hon. Friend Rob Butler.

I just want to make a few brief points in the limited time that I have. I appreciate that my hon. Friend cannot answer the question on the prevalence of different types of drugs, but, clearly, drug use in prisons and approved premises is rife. It is responsible for a lot of misery, delaying people and causing them problems in their rehabilitation process. The more that we can do on drug testing and offering drug testing, the better, particularly in terms of being able to offer proper treatment, packages and pathways for people going through the criminal justice system.

It is worth reflecting on the harms that drug use causes to people. We talk a lot about the harms to society, but there are also harms to people themselves. The most dangerous time to be a heroin user when a person is going through the judicial system is when they leave prison. When they leave prison, they get access to heroin again, take far more than they are used to and have heroin overdoses. It is important we make sure that people are detected and we get them on proper treatment plans so they can be rehabilitated back into society.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury again for tabling the Bill, which will hopefully make a huge difference in protecting our society and, importantly, helping people on the path to rehabilitation.