§ Mr. Irving
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what special arrangements are being made for intravenous drug users to combat the spread of HIV infection; and, in particlar, whether the needle exchange programmes have been evaluated.
§ Mr. Newton
We are taking the following measures designed both to reinforce our anti-drugs strategy and to curb the spread of AIDS among drug misusers and from them into the general population.First, we arc continuing to give priority to our strategy for the prevention of drug misuse, and expect to highlight the dangers of injecting in the next phase of our AIDS and drugs publicity campaigns.516WSecond, we are providing an extra £1 million in 1987–88 to help drug misuse services play a growing role in the fight against AIDS.Third, we have established 15 pilot schemes in different parts of the United Kingdom where injecting drug misusers can both receive counselling and exchange used needles and syringes for sterile equipment. These schemes are being monitored and evaluated to help assess their effect on the behaviour of their users. We hope to receive a preliminary report by the end of the year.In addition, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has set up a working group to consider urgently what further measures could be taken.