HC Deb 15 March 2000 vol 346 cc176-7W
Mr. Ben Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to prevent the use of gammahydroxybutyrate in night clubs and pubs. [114162]

Mr. Charles Clarke

The Home Office Drugs Prevention Advisory Service (DPAS) was established in April 1999, with a remit to promote effective drugs prevention and to support local Drug Action Teams in their role of delivering the aims of the Government's national anti-drugs strategy.

At a national level, DPAS works with the Department of Health and others on helping to establish the best ways and means of targeting young people with sound information about the risks of substance misuse. DPAS regional teams are well placed to engage with Drug Action Teams, local authority licensing bodies and other partnerships about approaches to tackling the problem of substance misuse in clubs and pubs, including the harmonisation of enforcement activity with local and community concerns about such misuse.

Other measures taken recently to tackle the use of drugs in clubs and similar venues include bringing into force the Public Entertainments Licences (Drug Misuse) Act 1997. It enables local authorities to close those clubs found to have a serious problem relating to the supply or use of controlled drugs. Home Office guidance has been issued to local authorities on the implementation of the Act. It is designed to encourage and develop partnerships between the police, licensing authorities and club operators to combat the threat posed by drugs to clubs and provide a safe environment for customers.

In November 1998, a Good Practice Guide on the Implementation of the Act was published jointly by the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Local Government Association, the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association and the United Kingdom Anti-Drugs Co-ordination Unit. Its recommendations include a range of measures to be implemented by clubs to safeguard health and safety and to discourage drug users on their premises.