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Drugs: Misuse

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial interests (a) the Chairman and (b) each member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and its technical committee have declared. (276006)

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will publish a register of interests of all council members on their website the week commencing 1 June. The register will include the interests of the chairman.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her estimate is of the number of people who have used khat in each of the last 10 years. (276251)

No annual estimates are currently made of the number of people who have used khat.

The Home Office is planning to add questions to the British Crime Survey (BCS) from October 2009 to ask respondents about self-reported use of khat ever, in the last year and in the last month.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of research commissioned by her Department on the individual and social effects of the use of khat in the UK. (276288)

In March 2005, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) was asked by the Home Office to assess the extent of the harm posed by khat use in the UK based on the evidence available at that time. The ACMD recommended khat not be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act but it continues to monitor the situation in relation to khat through its technical committee.

The Government’s 2008 Drug Strategy Action Plan set out the intention to consider further the social harms created by khat use and to improve our understanding of the needs of khat users and their families.

In light of the commitments, the Home Office has commissioned a research project to examine the social harms associated with khat use and to explore the level and availability of treatment service provision for khat users and their families and will be considering the issue of classification.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions officials of her Department have had with representatives of community organisations on the use of khat in the UK. (276289)

Representatives of communities in which khat is used have met both the Home Secretary and other Home Office Ministers, with officials present. Pursuant to the commitment in the Government's 2008 Drug Strategy Action, research that has been commissioned by the Home Office to examine the social harms associated with khat use will comprise a number of focus groups with members of the Somali, Yemeni, and Ethiopian communities. These groups will explore perceptions of the social harms associated with khat use.