HC Deb 18 November 1998 vol 319 c929
9. Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

What consultation he has had with the anti-drugs co-ordinator on policies on the use of ecstasy. [58921]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Dr. Jack Cunningham)

The Government's anti-drugs strategy, "Tackling Drugs Together to Build a Better Britain", outlines action to tackle all illegal drugs, including Ecstasy.

Ms Stuart

Given that evidence clearly suggests that young people respond to factual information when they consider the use of such drugs as Ecstasy, will my right hon. Friend make sure that the information on long-term brain damage associated with such drugs is made widely available not just to schools and children, but to their parents?

Dr. Cunningham

Yes, we shall do that in the course of developing our 10-year strategy to tackle drug abuse in this country. Some of the £217 million in additional expenditure that I announced a few weeks ago will be targeted as my hon. Friend requests: it will be spent on further programmes of education, advice and information.

Dr. Jenny Tonge (Richmond Park)

Does the Minister accept that the Government's so-called anti-drugs strategy is failing? Will he not therefore set up a royal commission to examine the uses and effects of all illegal drugs?

Dr. Cunningham

No, I do not accept that—and neither does the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), who has said positive things about the Government's drugs strategy. If the Liberal Democrats cannot agree among themselves about their party's position on this subject, I cannot take their comments very seriously.