HC Deb 20 April 1995 vol 258 cc322-3
2. Mr. Byers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the total value of property stolen in 1994 to finance drug addiction. [18355]

Mr. Howard

The involvement of drug misusers in criminal activity is difficult to quantify. It has not been possible so far to estimate with any precision the amount of crime that is drug related.

Mr. Byers

Is the Home Secretary aware that it costs a heroin addict some £30,000 a year to finance the habit? Does he agree with the Home Affairs Select Committee that there is a clear connection between drug misuse and the committing of crimes to fund such abuse? In the light of those facts, does he accept that the Government were simply wrong to cease the funding of residential treatment for drug addicts and to stop the funding of drug advisers in our schools?

Mr. Howard

The hon. Gentleman is considerably out of date. He should be aware that we are funding programmes to bring home to our schoolchildren the evils of drug misuse. We are in fact spending about £500 million a year on tackling drugs. The Home Office drugs prevention initiative has been renewed and extended from 1 April 1995 and the Government as a whole will shortly publish a White Paper which will set out our co-ordinated overall strategy for tackling drug misuse at all levels and in all ways.

Mr. John Greenway

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, given the clear link that there is between drug misuse and property crime, it is right to pursue, as he is doing, the rigorous policy of getting rid of drugs inside our prisons?

Returning to the issue of the boot camp, is it not a fact that the "no-drug" culture in the American boot camp is one of its most endearing features?

Mr. Howard

My hon. Friend is right about the importance of tackling drug misuse in prisons, which is far too prevalent. The mandatory drug-testing regime for which provision was made in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 is now being introduced in our prisons. My hon. Friend is also right to emphasise the importance of the drug-free environment in boot camps in the United States.