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Illicit Substance Use in Prisons

Volume 683: debated on Tuesday 3 November 2020

What steps he is taking to improve the capability of prisons to test for the use of illicit substances among prisoners. (908305)

My hon. Friend is right to highlight the impact of drugs in our prisons, because there is a link between drugs and violence and assaults. That is why we in Government are supporting the Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill, promoted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Dame Cheryl Gillan). The Bill had its Second Reading last month and will ensure that we can extend the range of substances that can be tested automatically, so that we can respond quicker to new formulations of psychoactive substances.

I am grateful for that answer. What support can be provided for prisoners to ensure that they can recover permanently from drugs misuse?

We are taking a number of approaches, of which I shall name just one: the rolling out of the NHS Reconnect service, which ensures that those having treatment in prisons can continue that treatment when they go into the community on release. The service includes assistance in making referrals and also provides peer mentoring services. It will ensure that, as my hon. Friend said, offenders permanently stay off drugs on their release.