Minister rules out safe houses for drug takers after Brighton MP’s question

Posted On 18 Apr 2013 at 2:16 pm

A cabinet minister ruled out safe houses for drug takers in Brighton in Parliament this morning (Thursday 18 April).

Andrew Lansley, the Leader of the House of Commons and former Health Secretary, was replying to a question from Simon Kirby, the Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown.

The exchange followed the publication this morning of a report by the Independent Drugs Commission for Brighton and Hove.

The setting up of “consumption rooms” was one of 19 recommendations contained in the report.

Mr Kirby asked Mr Lansley: “Is my right honourable friend aware of Brighton and Hove City Council’s proposal to install safe drug consumption rooms in the city?

“Have the government been consulted by the council on the matter?

Simon Kirby

Simon Kirby

“May we have time for either a statement or a debate on that important issue?”

Mr Lansley, a fellow Conservative, said: “We have not seen any detailed proposals.

“It is important to say that the government will not support any actions that contravene the United Nations drugs conventions or the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

“Permitting premises to be used for consuming or possessing substances controlled under section 8 of the act is illegal.

“As I say, we have not seen detailed proposals.

“The establishment or operation of drug injection rooms risks encouraging illicit trafficking and carries a significant risk of harm in local communities.”

Mr Kirby said afterwards: “We need to be working to eliminate drug use not just managing it.

“I am very concerned as to where these premises are likely to be located, if indeed they are even legal, and how they will be managed.

“Brighton has had a drug problem for many years and we need to be taking tough action against suppliers and dealers and working to get users into treatment as quickly as possible.

“I am also concerned at the impact on children if the locations are near to schools or areas where young people congregate.

“Brighton needs a clear response regarding the drug issue in the city and I am not convinced this is the best way forward.

“I shall be following this issue closely as the report’s recommendations are considered further.”

 

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