§ Mr. Mellor
[holding answer 31 January 1989]: In 1986, the latest year for which figures are available centrally, there were 354 admissions with a drug related main diagnosis to NHS mental illness hospitals and units in the Mersey RHA. Also, in the same year, there were 7,506 attendances at NHS drug addiction out-patient clinics.
These figures do not represent the number of people involved since an individual could be admitted to hospital or attend an out-patient clinic several times in one year. In any case, most drug misusers are treated in the community for which information is not available centrally.
There are 10 out-patient drug dependency services and two in-patient units in the region. There are also 12 syringe exchange schemes run by health authorities. These services are supported by a number of voluntary sector services including two residential centres and more than 10 providing counselling services to drug misusers and users' families.