§ 60. Mr. RAFFAN
asked the Home Secretary whether it is in contemplation to extend the general permit enabling unregistered practitioners in dentistry to obtain solutions containing not more than 1 per cent. of cocaine for purposes of anæsthetics beyond 31st October; and, if so, to what date?
As the hon. Member is aware, I had the advantage of discussing this matter yesterday at a Conference with a number of Members who are interested in it. As a result of the discussion, I promised to appoint a small Committee to make further inquiries as to the use of cocaine by dental practitioners, and I hope to be able to issue an announcement in a few days. Pending these inquiries the temporary permits issued to unregistered dental practitioners will be extended for a short time.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the danger caused by this extension of facilities to unregistered dentists?
Yes. I view the situation with the same concern. It was discussed between a large body of Members and myself and this temporary arrangement was arrived at.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether cocaine is regarded as dangerous when used by unregistered dentists and safe and beneficial when used by registered dentists?
That is not so at all. The difficulty is that there are many thousands of persons calling themselves unregistered dentists. In fact any person can call himself an unregistered dentist, and the Home Office fears that if such persons are allowed freely to obtain cocaine they may be made channels for its distribution for illicit purposes.
§ Commander WEDGWOOD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the vast bulk of the working population of this country have to depend on unregistered dentists?
That is so, and if there were no substitute for cocaine it would be impossible to make this Order. I am advised that there is a substitute, which is fully as efficient and it not liable to the misuse to which cocaine is liable.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
Why not Make the registered dentists also use this substitute if it is fully as efficient?
Registered dentists are all well known, and there is no danger so far as they are concerned. As I informed the hon. Member who put the question, with the full assent of the hon. Members who are interested in the question, we have taken up the case of the unregistered dentists and the matter will be examined by a small Committee who will hear carefully the unregistered dentists.