HC Deb 08 December 1955 vol 547 cc542-3
23. Dr. King

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of prosecutions for peddling in drugs for the latest available year.

Major Lloyd-George

During 1954 there was one conviction under the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1951, for offering to supply drugs. There were 218 other convictions under the Act, the majority of which were for unlawful possession of drugs, but it is not possible to say in how many of these cases the drugs would have been sold to another person.

Dr. King

Is the Minister aware that although the figures which he has given this afternoon show that the main ravages of the drug menace are outside this country, many of us are behind him and the Government in their linking up with other nations in a universal effort to stamp out this evil?

26. Mr. Gower

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence he has obtained of an increase in the traffic and use of illegal drugs in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

Major Lloyd-George

Whilst I have no evidence of any serious increase in illegal traffic in or use of drugs in this country, there has been some increase in the traffic in Indian hemp, and I am watching this development closely.

Mr. Gower

In view of the 216 convictions for this offence, can my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether he has any reason for believing that new methods of smuggling these drugs into the country are being adopted?

Major Lloyd-George

I am afraid I could not answer that question without notice. I am glad to say that the figures for the first part of this year show a decrease, which is satisfactory.

42. Mrs. L. Jeger

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the World Health Organisation about the advisability of banning other drugs in addition to heroin.

Major Lloyd-George

The Eighteenth Session of the Economic and Social Council, which recommended the banning of heroin, also urged governments to prohibit the manufacture, import and export of ketobemidone, and urged countries in which cannabis preparations are still being used to explore the possibility of discontinuing their use as rapidly as possible. Ketobemidone, which I am informed is an exceptionally addicting synthetic drug, has never been used in this country, and I do not propose to licence its import or manufacture here unless it is required for scientific purposes. Cannabis is used in small quantities as colouring matter in corn plasters and corn paints. I am informed that its use is on the wane. I do not propose to take any action at present to prevent its use.

Mrs. Jeger

Is the Home Secretary aware of a Press report of 9th September indicating that the World Health Organisation had asked his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to inform doctors of the addiction dangers of pethedine, and can he assure the House that he is not proposing to deprive the public of this drug also?

Major Lloyd-George

I think that the hon. Lady should put down a Question to my right hon. Friend about that.