Skip to main content

Drugs: Misuse

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made to date under his Department's Drugs: protecting families and communities strategy; and if he will make a statement. (247259)

The 10-year drug strategy “Protecting families and communities”, published in February 2008, set out a series of steps to address the problems associated with young people's misuse of drugs, alcohol and volatile substances. The main action that has already been taken is as follows.

A review of drug and alcohol education has taken place and, in response to its recommendations, in October 2008 Government committed to review existing guidance on the subject by September 2009 and to conduct an independent review of how its decision to make PSHE statutory status could be translated into a practical way forward.

To continue helping to prevent drug use among young people (11 to 18) by changing their attitudes and perceptions towards drugs and drug users, a new FRANK Cocaine campaign was launched in December 2008. Awareness of FRANK remains very high: in the latest tracking study (report July 2008) 83 per cent. of young people were aware of the campaign. This figure is unchanged from 2007.

A cross-government working group has been set up, informing thinking for next Drug Strategy Action Plan, measuring impact of existing interventions with at risk families, identifying research priorities and informing the rollout of Think Family reforms at local level.

The drug strategy committed to publish guidance to help the commissioning and delivery of treatment services with a greater focus on the needs of parents and families, and to that effect the National Treatment Agency (NTA) published carers’ guidance in October 2008. The NTA will also shortly be publishing updated commissioning guidance for local partnerships which will include a specific section on commissioning appropriate services for parental drug users, including pregnant drug users. The document will also provide guidance to commissioners on supporting families around drug use and involving them in the commissioning system.

To meet our commitment to provide intensive support to substance misusing parents through a range of recently established family interventions, targeting families at risk, the substance misuse agenda has been included in remit letter for local parenting support advisers; Family Pathfinder status has been awarded to 14 areas, one focussing on substance misuse; and, substance misuse has been included in the broad remit for parenting and early intervention projects. Furthermore, family intervention pilots (FIP) have been extended to 500 further families affected by substance misuse. NTA are working with DCSF in the development of the child poverty family intervention projects in 10 pilot areas during 2008-09. This will be rolled out to further areas in the next two years.

To meet our commitment toward encouraging better take-up of free child care for three and four-year-olds (and two-year-olds in pilot areas) to improve access to treatment for parents, the NTA will be publishing family friendly treatment guidance for commissioners and providers in spring 2009. NTA is also continuously working on ensuring that parents seeking access to treatment are aware of free provision.