HC Deb 24 May 1966 vol 729 cc283-4
Q11. Mr. Deedes

asked the Prime Minister what machinery exists to coordinate the activities of the Home Secretary, the Minister of Health, the Secretary of State for Education and Science, and the social services in action against drug addiction in Great Britain.

The Prime Minister

The normal arrangements for interdepartmental coordination function in this as in other fields, Sir.

Mr. Deedes

Is the Prime Minister satisfied with the work which is being done by the Government Ministries on this important subject? Is he aware of the very profound alarm felt in many social circles about the spread of drug addiction? Does he know how many schoolgirls in this country are addicted to heroin today?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman, who had, I believe, experience in the Home Office, knows some of the complications here, because there are so many Departments which must be concerned—the Home Secretary for regulating the possesion of dangerous drugs; the Ministry of Health for treatment; the Secretary of State for Education and Science for education in the schools. It is always difficult to get the right division of responsibility. I think that we may have to review the present situation as to departmental responsibilities when we have had time to study the recommendations for new controls over dangerous drugs—when we have made decisions on this on the recommendations made by the Brain Committee.

Mr. Doughty

Will the Prime Minister ask the Minister of Health for the information which he has regarding the grossly excessive prescribing of drugs by some doctors for young people who ought not to have any drugs at all?

The Prime Minister

I take it that the hon. and learned Gentleman is here referring to dangerous drugs—those coming within the purview of the schedule. My right hon. Friend is in full possession of this. He has announced in the House already that we are now accepting the Brain Committee's recommendations to set up an Advisory Committee. This is one of the questions which I think will have to be considered by that Advisory Committee.

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