§ Mr. Hendry
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the impact of the use of urine samples for detection of illegal drugs on the types of drugs used by prisoners; and what plans he has to change his policy of mandatory drug-testing. 
§ Hilary Benn
[holding answer 16 July 2002]: There is no substantive research evidence that the use of urine samples for detection of illegal drugs permanently affects the types of drugs used by prisoners. However, in light of anecdotal evidence that prisoners may be switching from cannabis to heroin in order to avoid detection (because the latter can be detected in the body for a shorter period), research has been commissioned from the Institute of Psychiatry and the Office for National Statistics which is due to report in December 2002. The implications of this research will be considered carefully.