§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on recent initiatives taken within the Government's overall strategy for tackling drug abuse.
§ Mr. Mellor
We continue to give a very high priority to our comprehensive strategy for tackling drug misuse. Since 1 January we have announced record provisional figures for customs' seizures in 1985; and the continuation of our successful prevention campaign, beginning with the launch of a two-part video package for young people. Our Drug Trafficking Offences Bill, which is now before Parliament, constitutes a further major initiative against drug trafficking. We have also recently announced the provision of an additional £5 million a year to health authorities from 1986–87 specifically for the expansion of services for drug misusers.
§ Mr. Mellor
Since 1 January 1985 we have announced provision for:
- (i) £1.5 million over three years to combat drug production and trafficking in South America and elsewhere;
- (ii) a further £2.4 million aid grant to help to eradicate opium poppy cultivation in Pakistan;
- (iii) the creation of drugs wings in police regional crime squads, involving a 20 per cent. increase in their manpower, and the enhancement of the national drugs intelligence unit;
- (iv) 50 more customs specialist investigators in 1985–86;
- (v) 350 additional posts in 1986–87 for customs work (mainly on the prevention of drug smuggling);
- (vi) a projected rise of over £12 million from 1984–85 and 1988–89 in customs expenditure on equipment and other drug-related items;
- (vii) an increase to over £17 million of the fund to pump-prime local projects for drug misusers for three years;
- (viii) from 1986–87, an additional £5 million a year to health authorities specifically for the expansion of services for drug misusers.
Many of our main continuing programmes also contribute to our strategy: for example, the value of urban programme support for drug projects is now nearly £1 million each year.