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Drug Addicts (Treatment)

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he is having with the Department of Health regarding GPs who refuse to treat drug addicts. [113753]

The Department of Health and the National Treatment Agency (NTA) are actively encouraging the engagement of GPs in drug treatment, through the development of training programmes and peer support.To fund this work the Department of Health has made available £3 million to the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to train GPs on the Management of Drug Misuse in Primary Care. This is a certificate programme and to date, 440 GPs have attended the training, including 40 prison doctors.Peer support is provided through the Substance Misuse Management in General Practice network (SMMGP) which aims to develop, support and encourage the role of GPs and other primary care workers to work with problem drug users. They perform this task through face to face and telephone contact with GPs. A website and regular newsletter provide access to information.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support his Department is offering to drug addicts who (a) are serving and (b) have served custodial sentences for drug related crimes to help them beat addiction. [113747]

The Prison Service has a comprehensive framework in place to address the wide-ranging needs of drug-misusing prisoners:

detoxification in all local and remand prisons;
Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare (CARATs) in all prisons;
60 intensive treatment programmes;
voluntary drug testing available in all prisons.
The Prison Service is not directly responsible for the care of prisoners after release but in partnership with other agencies is seeking increasingly to improve continuity, so that gains made in prison will not be lost on release. The Government"s 2002 Spending Review made significant additional provision for throughcare and aftercare links.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to promote the availability of drug treatment services to offenders who have served custodial sentences for drug related crimes. [113745]

Offenders who have misused drugs need access to a wide range of support on leaving prison. This includes not only treatment for drug dependency but also access to other services such as housing and employment.As part of the revised drug strategy, aftercare provisions are being improved to ensure that offenders, who have served custodial sentences, have relevant support services in place so that they can use drug treatment services effectively. Key to delivering that support are effective links between prisons and agencies in the community. Those links and flows of information are being improved—for example by building single points of contact in Drug Action Teams (DAT) in the 25 DAT areas with the highest levels of acquisitive crime.