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Heroin Addiction

Volume 616: debated on Monday 31 October 2016

13. What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of interventions by her Department in dealing with heroin addiction in England. (906889)

Recovery from drug misuse remains at the heart of our approach. More people are recovering from their dependency now than in 2010, and the number of heroin and crack cocaine users in England has continued to fall, with the number going below 300,000 for the first time since 2011. We are developing a new drugs strategy with other Government Departments and key partners, which will be published soon.

With most drug services having been privatised across England in the past three years, the figures that the Minister has just quoted are fake, aren’t they? They are fake figures. Outcomes are no longer being measured on a health basis, are they? Will the Minister tell us what the outcomes currently are when it comes to heroin treatment?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question—[Laughter.] Decisions about services and how they are commissioned are made locally, as he well knows. The figures are far from fake; they are independently reported. I would think that he, as a local MP, would actually be praising his local services, because the latest data I have show that people have quick referrals to their service—96% of people who need access to treatment are receiving it within three days. In fact, his local area has a really good track record of engaging with people, and making sure they do not drop out of treatment and get good results from treatment programmes.

I must say to the Minister, who is a very forgiving soul, that gratitude to the hon. Member for Bassetlaw is not always a commodity in plentiful supply.