HC Deb 25 February 1986 vol 92 cc800-1
6. Mr. Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will meet the Association of Directors of Social Services to discuss in-service training for social workers on drug counselling.

Mr. Whitney

Yes, if it so wishes. I am in regular contact with the Association of Directors of Social Services.

Mr. Roberts

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when he meets the association he will be told that because heroin and hard drug-taking in areas of high unemployment such as Merseyside has reached epidemic proportions the social workers and social services cannot cope? Because the Government have created the conditions that have led to this escalation of hard drug taking by creating massive youth unemployment among teenagers and cutting the staff of the Customs and Excise, is not the onus on the Government to provide the resources to deal with the problem?

Mr. Whitney

If the hon. Gentleman refers to his officials in Merseyside, he will understand that they have taken advantage of a number of the many initiatives that we have set up to train professionals in coping with drug misuse. If the hon. Gentleman would also refer to the statistics on drug taking, he will see that the correlation between unemployment, full employment and the misuse of drugs has nothing to do with the point he is making.

Mr. Rathbone

Will my hon. Friend give the House a situation report on the appointment of drug co-ordinators in health districts with a view to furthering the training of social workers in drug counselling?

Mr. Whitney

I understand that liaison officers have been appointed in all health authorities. We have also now set in hand the arrangements for a drug advisory service.