HL Deb 28 November 1967 vol 287 cc4-5

2.53 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government—

  1. (a) how many drug addicts have been seen at the treatment centres set up in connection with the Dan gerous Drugs Act;
  2. (b) how many are at present receiving treatment at each centre;
  3. (c) what treatment is being given.]


My Lords, the most recent records of the treatment of heroin addiction by National Health Service hospitals relate to the quarter ended September 30 in which 173 persons were admitted as in-patients and 171 commenced outpatient treatment. At the end of September 64 in-patients and 167 out-patients were receiving treatment at 39 hospitals. The forms of treatment, which vary widely and are determined by clinical judgment in individual cases, include psychotherapy with individual patients or in groups, physical methods of treatment such as drugs, occupational and industrial therapy and social support. Attention is also naturally given to patients' physical condition.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that reply, and recognising that there has been progress in this matter, may I ask him whether he is aware that those figures compare with the number of 467 drug addicts notified on January 1 this year in the Metropolitan area alone? Does he feel that this progress is satisfactory? And does he feel that it will be possible to introduce the regulations about the prescribing of heroin, for which we enacted the Dangerous Drugs Act in the previous Session; and, if so, when?


My Lords, one must distinguish between notifications of drug addiction and notifications of heroin addiction. My Answer related to heroin addiction. Many heroin addicts, like other drug addicts, are treated elsewhere than in National Health Service hospitals, or, indeed, than in hospitals at all at the moment. The purpose of the regulations which my right honourable friend proposes to introduce will be to terminate their treatment by anybody except a licensed doctor in appropriate premises. The regulations will be introduced by my right honourable friend in the New Year.


My Lords, can my noble friend say when statistics will become available about the results of these treatments, and particularly about the rate of relapse after treatment has been completed?


My Lords, there is already some statistical material about the rate of relapse. Of course, comparable material about the rate of relapse under the new procedure to be instituted by the regulations will not be available for a period, which the noble Lord is better able to judge than I am.