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Drug Addiction

Volume 116: debated on Monday 11 May 1987

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60.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on measures to combat drug addiction within the Civil Service.

All the evidence presently available suggests that drug misuse in the Civil Service is on a very small scale. But we do not feel we can be complacent. A group of officials from my Department and others will shortly be meeting representatives of the Civil Service trades unions to review the evidence, draft policy guidance to Departments and offer advice to Civil Service managers.

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. Does he agree that, as there are between 60,000 and 100,000 known drug addicts in this country, it is not unreasonable to assume that some of them are to be found in every large organisation? The Civil Service employs over 600,000 people. What is my right hon. Friend doing to ensure that adequate counselling and help are being provided for those who may take to drugs? He will agree that it is one of the most intractable problems that is facing every part of this country.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He should know—perhaps he does know—that the level of drug misuse in the Civil Service is extremely low. Last year there were only six reported cases of drugs misuse. That shows how small the problem is. However, as it is a widespread problem, it is right that the management of the Civil Service should have guidance at its disposal to make sure that we can deal with these problems as they arise.