HC Deb 02 February 2001 vol 362 cc338-9W

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations and from whom he has received in the past 12 months on solutions to the drugs problems in Weston-super-Mare. [148372]

Mr. Charles Clarke

So far as can be ascertained, my Department has within this period answered two letters from residents of Weston-super-Mare offering opposing views on the legalisation of cannabis.

Drug Action Teams (DATs) have been set up across the country to deliver the Government's Anti Drugs Strategy, "Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain" at the local level. It is the responsibility of these local teams to assess the extent of drug misuse in their area and to plan and implement action to tackle it. The Home Office Drugs Prevention Advisory Service has a copy of the North Somerset action plan. I understand that the DAT has proposed a research study by the University of Bath in response to local concerns about offenders and homelessness, which it is suggested are linked to the number of residential rehabilitation units based in Weston- super-Mare.

DAT 'clinics', advertised through local press, are an opportunity for local residents to make an appointment with DAT members to discuss particular issues or to find out more about the work of the DAT. The first for the North Somerset DAT was held in November and these will continue on a bi-monthly basis. North Somerset DAT has also produced a media strategy, 'To proactively engage the media on substance use/misuse issues and DAT work', and so achieves wide local coverage of drugs issues.