asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy concerning detoxification centres; and if he will make a statement.
I have been asked to reply.The working party on habitual drunken offenders (1971) recommended two experimental centres to test whether such offenders could benefit from detoxification as part of the treatment and rehabilitation services; and the centres were a satisfactory alternative to penal measures in places where public drunkenness is a serious problem.The Department has funded two experimental detoxification centres for limited experimental periods and is also contributing to the cost of a third centre opened by a voluntary organisation; and sponsored a research programme to enable these projects to be evaluated with a view to a policy decision on the future of detoxification centres. Other considerations will be the extent to which detoxification is available in NHS hospitals; the other responsibilities of health and local authorities; national policies; resource constraints and the recommendation of the Expenditure Committee in its fifteenth report that simpler forms of detoxification of an overnight kind be provided. The last item is under consideration by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.