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Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate his Department has made of the rate of contraction of Hepatitis C via the sharing of notes and straws by cocaine users; what measures are in place to discourage this practice; and if he will make a statement. (290947)

The Department has not made such an estimate. Current advice from the Advisory Group on Hepatitis is that the sharing of bank notes or straws for intranasal cocaine use is a theoretically plausible route of hepatitis C transmission, but that robust evidence of an actual risk is lacking. The NHS hepatitis C website ( recommends that intranasal cocaine users do not share straws or banknotes because of this potential risk.