§ Mrs. Angela Knight
[holding answer 6 February 1997]: Ministerial responsibility varies according to the information sought and the availability of data, as follows:
- (a) The Office for National Statistics collects and publishes information on all deaths registered in England and Wales and codes cause of death.
- (b) The Department of Health deals with medical and health aspects of drug misuse, and compiles information on drug addicts in index form. Data are available on the age and sex of the addict, drug used, injecting behaviour and agency type, at regional health authority level, and at district health authority level. They are published on an annual basis.
The Department of Health also compiles a variety of aggregated data on problem drug misuse. The data cover England and are published twice a year.
- (c) The Home Office collects and publishes information on persons notified as being addicted to opiates and cocaine and all drug-related deaths, as well as data on drug offences and drug seizures made by the police and by HM Customs and Excise. The Home Office also compiles data on drugs and criminal justice. They include details of offenders by age, sex, offence, drug involved, police force area, disposal and sentence, and are available by United Kingdom police force area. Data on drugs offenders have been collected centrally since 1967. Statistics on seizures are based on returns received directly from Customs and Excise and the police.
- (d) HM Customs and Excise also collates information on types and weights of drugs seized at frontiers. The Department for Education and Employment's principal role is to disseminate advice and guidance on drug education and prevention to schools, youth workers, and teachers in further and higher education. It also supports many local groups and funds the training of teachers and community workers who are engaged in tackling the problems of drug abuse and has published several documents accordingly.
- (e) Co-ordination of the Government's drug strategy is the responsibility of the Lord President.