§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response he has made to representations he has received concerning addiction to medically prescribed and publicly funded tranquillising drugs; and if he will make a statement concerning the funding of self-help groups formed by involuntary addicts.
§ Mr. Dorrell
We believe that the prescribing of any drug must be left to the clinical judgment of the doctor. The Government have ensured, however, that information on the consequences of prescribing, and withdrawal from, tranquillisers is available to doctors.
The Government believe that the services offered by self-help groups are best provided locally. Regional health authorities have received earmarked funding since 1986–87 for the express purpose of expanding and developing local drug misuse services. Health authorities are expected to assess the need for services locally and to fund appropriate services to meet the needs of drug misusers including those dependent on prescribed drugs.