HC Deb 23 October 1967 vol 751 cc1330-1
20. Mr. Cordle

asked the Minister of Health if he will now publish in a cheap and popular form of booklet the medical consequence of taking soft and hard drugs when not prescribed under medical supervision.

31. Mr. Barnes

asked the Minister of Health what conclusions he has come to as a result of his consultations with the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence about the need for a health education and publicity compaign about the dangers of taking drugs.

Mr. K. Robinson

The question of publicity about the dangers of drug taking will be considered as soon as I have received the advice of the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence.

Mr. Cordle

In view of the urgency of the situation, could the Minister publish a popular pamphlet, which would be readable by all ages, pointing out the grave effects which can result from taking these harmful drugs?

Mr. Robinson

I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman's wishes, but I can assure him that hasty or ill-conceived publicity might well do more harm than good. The Government would prefer to await the considered views of the Advisory Committee before deciding on particular measures such as the booklet which the hon. Gentleman suggests.

Mr. Barnes

Would my right hon. Friend agree that there is, nevertheless, mounting demand from the public for more information of the sort which could enable people to spell out to young people the dangers of taking soft as well as hard drugs? Even though medical opinion may be divided on some aspects, would not a publicity campaign be able to accommodate those differences and still be very useful?

Mr. Robinson

I agree that there is need for more information. I want only to make sure that it is the right information and the right advice.

Lord Balniel

As important as publicity is the setting up of out-patients clinics for the treatment of drug addicts. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether progress is being made in that respect?

Mr. Robinson

I do not think that that issue arises out of this Question, but I can assure the noble Lord that progress is being made.

Mr. English

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many hon. Members appreciate his attitude of not publicising circumstances when the circumstances are unknown? Should not much more research be done before the Minister publicises such matters?

Mr. Robinson

More research is needed and more research is currently being carried on.

Sir S. McAdden

While the Minister is taking steps to control the advertising of another drug, will he take equally strong steps to prevent the publicising of the argument in favour of legalised "pot"?

Mr. Robinson

No doubt that is one of the matters which the Advisory Committee will take into account.