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Prisoners (Drugs)

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 26 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest information available to him about the prevalence of the illegal taking of drugs by injection in Her Majesty's prisons.

Reports of finds of needles and syringes and of substances such as heroin and cocaine suggest that the incidence of drug misuse by injection in establishments is relatively low. Over 90 per cent. of finds of substances involve cannabis and only 3 per cent. heroin and cocaine. The results of research studies which have been conducted, including those recently reported in the British Medical Journal, need to be treated with some caution because of the small size of the samples. But we are studying the findings. As my hon. Friend is aware, we are considering whether some form of screening, whether for clinical or control purposes, should be introduced, and we are looking at other means to assist in assessing the scale of misuse.