HL Deb 01 February 1999 vol 596 c184WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What conclusions they draw from voluntary and compulsory drug tests carried out on prisoners in recent years. [HL643]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

Mandatory drug tests proving positive fell from 24.4 per cent. in 1996–97 to 18.8 per cent. in the first seven months of 1998–99. This is an indication of the success of the Prison Service's drug strategy. Mandatory drug testing acts as a deterrent to drug misuse, provides information on trends in drug misuse, and enables the identification and referral of drug misusers to treatment programmes. The number of voluntary drug test samples sent for laboratory analysis has risen from 9,992 in 1996–97 to 14,759 in 1997–98 and 10,340 in the first seven months of 1998–99. Many more tests have been undertaken using on-site screening machines or test kits. This is a welcome sign of a growing commitment amongst prisoners to remain drug free.