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Drugs (Adverse Reactions)

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what specific studies he has made of the effects of drugs on the foetus when ingested by pregnant women; what were the results of these studies; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) on 19 December, if he has issued advice to voluntary organisations, local authorities and health authorities concerning transitional aid to voluntary organisations concerned with alcoholics; and if he will publish this in the Official Report.

Advice was issued on 1 February. As the document is rather lengthy, I am sending the hon. Member a copy and placing a copy in the Library of the House.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will continue funding Hungerford centre to ensure that it will not have to close in the current year.

The Department does not fund the Hungerford centre. The London Boroughs Association funds the project and will continue to be its major source of income in the next financial year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will study the report entitled "A Recommendation for Prevention of Alcohol Related Disorders"by the Royal College of Physicians; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he is satisfied that enough is being done to warn people of the dangers of alcohol dependence and addiction; what consideration he has given to making alcohol less widely available and less advertised; and what proposals he has to extend health education against alcoholism;(3) how much was spent on health education against alcoholism in 1979; how this compares with the figures for each of the preceding five years; and how much it is proposed to spend in the current year;(4) if he is satisfied that the resources of the Health Education Council are adequate to fund a continuous and comprehensive programme about alcohol dependence.

The recommendations of the Faculty of Community Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians will be taken into account by the Health and other Ministers concerned in our current consideration of similar recommendations in other recent reports. The role and financing of health education, the recommendations on advertising, and on measures to affect the price and availability of alcohol, all form part of this consideration. But already these reports have played an important part in warning people about the dangers of alcohol misuse which we take very seriously. I welcome the responsible contribution which the media have recently been making and believe that the problem is becoming more widely recognised.It is not possible to separate out all expenditure on health education—for example, by schools and all other agencies. The Department looks to the Health Education Council to conduct national and pilot health education campaigns. The amounts the council spent specifically to keep the dangers of alcohol misuse before the public were as follows:

The projected figure for 1980–81 is £100,000 which allows for the continuation of the campaign on the North-East of England. This is experimental. We need to know more about what approaches, and what agencies, including health and local authorities, schools and voluntary organisations can play effective parts in promoting sensible attitudes to drinking before we decide what a continuous and comprehensive programme would need to include.