HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc42-3
32. Mr. Barnes

asked the Minister of Health whether he will launch a major publicity campaign to inform the public of the physical, mental and social effects of taking different types of drugs.

Mr. K. Robinson

My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Home Department and for Education and Science and I are giving this matter urgent attention in consultation with the Sub-Committee of the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence, which is considering the need for health education and publicity about drug taking.

Mr. Barnes

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that there is a great need for more factual information about drugs at the earliest possible moment, not only to bring home to people who may be persuaded to take drugs what drugs are dangerous, but also to assist those whose job it is to administer the law to get the whole matter into better perspective?

Mr. Robinson

I agree with everything my hon. Friend said. This is a very important matter and we could certainly do with more facts.

Mr. Braine

I strongly reinforce the plea for more information, for there is a dearth, almost a complete absence as far as I can discover, of any information available for parents or teachers or social workers, apart from the odd pamphlet produced by an enlightened local authority. Can the right hon. Gentleman therefore speed up production of suitable material?

Mr. Robinson

There may be a demand by parents and other adults responsible for young people for factual information about different drugs and the symptoms which they cause and we are pressing ahead with the provision of such information. The Sub-Committee has held its first meeting and will be meeting again on the 27th of this month.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Would my right hon. Friend agree that it is of the very greatest importance that this information should be accurate, even if we have to wait a little longer to get it?

Mr. Robinson

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

What attitude does the Minister of Health take to the advertisement appearing in The Times this morning?

Mr. Robinson

I have seen the advertisement. It probably reinforces what has been said, not only from the Dispatch Box this afternoon but from both sides of the House, that we need more facts before we jump to conclusions.