§ Mr. Peter Robinson
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what statistics he has available for glue sniffing in East Belfast; and what action the authorities are presently taking to counter this practice.
§ Mr. John Patten
No official statistics are available about glue sniffing in East Belfast. The Government's view is that the problem is best dealt with by education and persuasion, including local initiatives involving parents, teachers, youth workers, the health and social services professions and the police. The Department of Health and Social Services is preparing a memorandum of information and guidance on solvent abuse to assist those who may have to deal with the problem. On 8 March the Departments of Education and Health and Social Services organised a conference on drug abuse with particular references to solvent abuse. The conference was aimed at principals of secondary schools and colleges and representatives of the health and social services and education and library boards. The Northern Ireland Departments have supported the production of a film on solvent abuse for use by professional groups who have to deal with the problem on a United Kingdom basis.