§ Mr. Dan Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth 36W Affairs to what extent the Government in Hong Kong are involved in controlling the illicit entry of drugs from Thailand; what measures have been taken by the authorities, and at what cost, to curb the entry of drugs; and what steps are taken by the medical services to control and cure victims.
§ Mr. Ennals
Hong Kong is co-operating with the United Nations, Interpol and other countries in the region in tackling the narcotics problem. A liaison officer from the Royal Hong Kong Police was posted to the British Embassy at Bangkok in November 1973 to improve the flow of information from those countries which are the source of drugs entering Hong Kong. The Narcotics Bureau of the police force has been restructured. These measures achieved outstanding results in 1974. A recent survey estimates that overall anti-narcotics measures in the law enforcement field cost about HK$ 25 million annually.
For males, the Prisons Department operates two drug addiction treatment centres with a capacity of 1,168; the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts one centre with a capacity of 500; and the discharged prisoners' aid society one centre with a capacity for 24. In addition, methadone maintenance facilities are available for 4,650 including three centres for 1,000 each, opened as a special measure to meet demand by addicts in the present situation. For females, there are two treatment centres with a capacity of 146. Nearly all drug addicts in Hong Kong are males.
The Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN) is now considering plans to increase drug treatment and rehabilitation services to be able to handle about 15,000 cases each year and by 1980 some 35,000, subject to the availability of funds. ACAN conducts preventive education and publicity throughout the year aimed primarily at the young.
§ Mr. Dan Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by the medical authorities in Hong Kong on research into the practice of drug taking.
§ Mr. Ennals
A Narcotics and Drugs Administration Division has recently been established in the Medical and Health Department responsible for research into 37W all aspects of drug abuse and addiction and for developing programmes of treatment and rehabilitation.
Two schemes—one run by the Medical and Health Department and the other by a grant-aided voluntary agency—to evaluate the use of methadone maintenance on a long-term basis in Hong Kong have entered the third year of study. Results should be available later this year.
Research into acupuncture as a possible effective treatment for drug addiction is also being undertaken in Hong Kong.