HC Deb 08 June 1967 vol 747 cc1268-70
16. Mr. Deedes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidance he has sent to local education authorities to assist schoolteachers to deal with the misuse of dangerous drugs.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Denis Howell)

The general pamphlet on Health Education is being revised and will contain a section on drugs: meanwhile the Department's medical officers are in close touch with medical officers of health, particularly in those areas where drug taking is suspected.

Mr. Deedes

Surely there is a case for some urgency here? How did it come about that the Inner London Education Authority circulated all its schools with advice the other day? Was that done after consultation with the Secretary of State?

Mr. Howell

We certainly knew what the Inner London Education Authority was doing in its area, and I have copies of its pamphlets here. There was consultation. As I think I said in an answer to the right hon. Gentleman on an earlier occasion, the Department's general pamphlet on the school health service and related matters is under fundamental review and we hope to get it out very soon. It will include advice on drug taking.

Mrs. Renée Short

Is my hon. Friend aware that he gave precisely the same reply to me last 10th November—seven months ago? Is not this pamphlet prepared by his Department yet? Is he aware that teachers very badly need guidance on this very urgent problem, and will he see that his Department gets a move on? It is too long to wait.

Mr. Howell

I am aware, and am as equally concerned as my hon. Friend about it, of the delay in re-issuing this pamphlet, which was last issued in 1957. Drug taking, however, is a very small portion of the whole and it is very important that the pamphlet as a whole should be reviewed in accordance with modern knowledge and techniques.

Mr. Deedes

On a point of order. Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.