§ Ms Primarolo
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the change in the number of registered child drug addicts; and what plans she has to tackle the problem.
§ Mr. Bowis
Year on year changes in the number of registered drug addicts, and of registered child drug addicts in particular, should be interpreted carefully because, while changes in the figures may indicate that there are more young addicts, they may also indicate more coming forward for treatment or a higher rate of compliance with reporting arrangements.
The Government will continue to develop prevention and publicity campaigns alerting parents and young people 367W to the dangers of drug misuse. Guidance issued by the Department of Health in April, EL(94)11 and subsequent letter, encouraged health authorities to review the needs of drug misusers locally and ensure that the range and choice of treatment services available included provision, where appropriate, for young people. Copies of the guidance and letter are available in the Library.