HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 c629
3. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will initiate regular medical examinations in all schools or a representative sample of schools to detect and curb the use of drugs by schoolchildren.

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

No, Sir.

Mr. Roberts

That is a most disappointing Answer. Is my hon. Friend aware that a system of medical inspection would have the effect of encouraging greater collaboration by parents in this very serious matter? Even a sample examination of the sort suggested would have a very considerable deterrent effect on the taking of drugs. Is my hon. Friend aware that at the moment we do not even know the size of the problem?

Mr. Howell

I do not accept that. We know a great deal more about this problem now than we did two years ago. A tremendous amount of health education is being done by the medical officers in my Department. But since it is impossible to make one medical test to discover all known drugs—for example, the smoking of marijuana cannot be detected at all by tests—grave offence would be given to 99.9 per cent. of all school children if they were systematically examined for drug taking when they are good, healthy, wholesome youngsters.