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Drug Users

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government is taking to (a) reduce the proportion of people aged under 25 reporting use of heroin and cocaine by 25 per cent. by 2008 and 25 per cent. by 2005, (b) reduce the levels of repeat offending among drug misusing offenders by 25 per cent. by 2005 and 50 per cent. by 2008; (c) increase the participation of problem drug misusers including prisoners in drug treatment programmes which have a positive impact on health and crime by 66 per cent. by 2005 and 100 per cent. by 2008 and (d) reduce access to the drugs which cause most harm, with particular reference to heroin and cocaine among young people, by 25 per cent. by 2005 and 50 per cent. by 2008.[120881]

I have been asked to reply.We have not abandoned our targets.The review found that although the broad thrust of the strategy was right it needed a greater focus on the most dangerous drugs, the most damaged communities and problematic drug users—those whose addiction and chaotic lifestyles caused the most harm to themselves and others. The targets also needed to be revised to ensure that they were challenging but achievable. The Home Affairs Committee in its inquiry "The Government's Drugs Policy: is it working?" supported these findings.The SR2000 and SR2002 targets are set out in the list. The targets are monitored and delivered by departments working closely together, although each target has a lead department which co-ordinates delivery. These are also indicated in the list.The Updated Drug Strategy published in December 2002 sets out progress made, the new targets and the range of policies and interventions planned to achieve them. A copy is in the Library.We will continue to report publicly on our progress through general reports on the strategy and through specific statistical bulletins. As with previous targets, more detailed information on how the new targets will be measured is set out in technical notes available on departmental websites.The Technical Notes can be found at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs/sr2002psa_tn.pdf, for the Home Office (HO);
http://www.doh.gov.uk/psa/index.htm, for the Department of Health (DH);
www.hmce.gov.uk/about/excellence/cetechnotes-03.pdf, for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise (HMCE). Please note that this note is currently being revised.

Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets from the previous spending review (SR2000) and the corresponding new targets from this latest spending review (SR2002)

Young People (HO lead):

SR2000 target: reduce the proportion of people under the age of 25 reporting the use of class A drugs 25 per cent. by 2005 and by 50 per cent. by 2008.

New target: reduce the use of class A drugs and the frequent use of any illicit drug among all young people under the age of 25 especially by the most vulnerable young people.

Tackling Supply (HMCE lead):

SR2000 target: reduce the availability of Class A drugs by 25 per cent. by 2005 and 50 per cent. by 2008.

New target: reduce the availability of illegal drugs by increasing:

the proportion of heroin and cocaine targeted on the UK which is taken out;
the disruption/dismantling of those criminal groups responsible for supplying substantial quantities of class A drugs to the UK market; and
the recovery of drug-related criminal assets.

New additional target (Foreign and Commonwealth Office lead): Contribute to the reduction of opium production in Afghanistan, with poppy cultivation reduced by 70 per cent. within five years and elimination within 10 years.

Drug related crime (HO lead):

SR2000 target: reduce the levels of repeat offending among drug misusing offenders by 25 per cent. by 2005 and 50 per cent. by 2008.

New target: reduce drug-related crime, including as measured by the proportion of offenders testing positive for arrest.

Treatment (DH lead):

SR2000 Target: Increase the participation of problem drug users in drug treatment programmes by 55 per cent. by 2004 and by 100 per cent. by 2008.

New target: Increase the participation of problem drug users in drug treatment programmes by 55 per cent. by 2004 and by 100 per cent. by 2008, and increase year on year the proportion of users successfully sustaining or completing treatment programmes.