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Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of recorded crime in the Hemsworth constituency was drug-related in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002. [109903]

Recorded crime figures include statistics on drugs offences, such as possession, and on acquisitive crimes, such as burglary, but do not record whether the latter are related to an offender's drug habits.However, the New English and Welsh Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (NEW-ADAM) research programme, which involves interviewing and drug testing those arrested by the police, confirms a link between drug misuse and crime, although the conclusions do not relate specifically to Hemsworth. Analysis of the data from the first eight sites in the survey, collected during 1999–2000, shows that 65 per cent. of arrestees provided a urine sample that tested positive for one or more illegal drug. The analysis also shows that up 'to 29 per cent. of arrestees tested positive for opiates (including heroin) and/or cocaine (including crack).As a guide to the proportion of crime that is drug-related, analysis of the NEW-ADAM self-report data indicates that while only 21 per cent. of non-drug using arrestees reported having previously offended in the past 12 months, this figure rises to 75 per cent. for those arrestees who use heroin and/or cocaine/crack. Moreover, while users of both heroin and cocaine/crack represented just under one quarter of all arrestees interviewed, they were responsible for more than three fifths of all the illegal income reported.In support of this, 55 per cent. of arrestees who reported using one or more drugs in the last 12 months and committing one or more acquisitive crimes, acknowledged a link between their drug use and their offending behaviour. This proportion rose to 78 per cent. for arrestees who said they had used heroin and cocaine/crack.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the drug offences recorded by the police in the 12 months to December 2002 were offences of (a)possession and (b) trafficking. [109562]

Eighty-five per cent. of drug offences recorded by the police in the 12 months to December 2002 were recorded as drug possession, compared to 15 per cent. recorded as trafficking. Other types of drug offences accounted for less than 1 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when tranquilliser drugs known as benzodiazepines were first classified; and if he will make a statement; [109034]

(2) what plans he has to refer the scheduling of benzodiazepines to the advisory council on the misuse of drugs; [109015]

(3) what plans he has to review the scheduling of benzodiazepine drugs; and if he will make a statement. [109012]

Substances known as benzodiazepines have been controlled as Class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 since 1 April 1986. They have legitimate uses as medicines and are regulated under Schedule 4 Part 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, with the exception of temazepam and flunitrazepam which are regulated under Schedule 3. On 1 February 2002, the benzodiazepines under Schedule 4 Part 1 were made subject to full import, export and possession controls (temazepam and flunitrazepam were already subject to such controls).The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs keeps the classification and scheduling of all controlled drugs under regular review. Under the 1971 Act, the Home Secretary must consult with the Council before making changes to the control of individual drugs.If any organisation or individual believes that benzodiazepines might be inappropriately classified or scheduled, they are encouraged to make submissions to the Home Office. These would be carefully considered and, if found to represent a credible case, would be referred to the Advisory Council.