Drug Treatment Services

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:16 pm on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 5:16 pm, 16th July 2019

I will come on to funding.

My hon. Friend Crispin Blunt takes great interest in this issue. He spoke about the legislative framework for drugs, which is a matter for the Home Office. As I said, I will talk to ministerial colleagues about that. The Government are putting together a formal response to the report on custody-community transitions, with input from many Departments, including the Department for Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. I think we have until the end of the summer to issue that response.

Local authorities will want to increase the provision of naloxone to people who are not in treatment, perhaps through outreach workers, hostels or needle and syringe programmes. Public Health England is working alongside the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and recently updated its advice and guidance on naloxone availability in prisons. The problem with drug testing kits is that not all of them are entirely accurate, which might give people false reassurance. More sophisticated testing has been available at some festivals in one pilot, but again this is a matter for the Home Office.

Hon. Members talked about the international evidence that drug consumption rooms can be effective at addressing public nuisance issues and health risks for users and for the wider public, but there is a risk that such facilities would be introduced at the expense of other more relevant, evidence-based drug services for local areas. There is currently no legal framework for the provision of drug consumption rooms, but we support a range of evidence-based approaches to reducing health-related harms. Again, we are committed to widening the availability of naloxone to prevent drug-related deaths. I acknowledge the strength of feeling on drug consumption rooms in the House.