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Drugs: Misuse

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of (a) crack cocaine and (b) opiate users with dependent children. (126607)

The Home Office-commissioned estimates of the number of problem opiate and crack users do not contain any information about individuals and their parental status. However, the Advisory Council of Misuse of Drugs in their report ‘Hidden Harm’ estimated that in the UK there were between 250,000 and 350,000 children of problem drug users in 2003. Since the publication of that report changes have been made to several monitoring systems to improve the information available, which will allow us to produce an updated estimate in the future. In particular the core dataset for the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System for England was updated from April 2006 and all treatment service providers are now required to record information on whether users in treatment have dependent children and whether the child(ren) are living with the person in treatment or with others.