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Written Question
Prisons: Drugs
Wednesday 5th January 2022

Asked by: Steve Reed (Labour (Co-op) - Croydon North)

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish a breakdown of drug incidents in prison since 2010 by (a) drug type and (b) overall weight substances.

Answered by Victoria Atkins - Minister for Afghan resettlement

Figures showing the number of incidents where drugs were found in prisons by type of drug onwards are included in the following table from 2013-14 to 2020-21:

Number of incidents where drugs(1),(2),(3) were found in prisons in England and Wales by drug type and class

Number

12 months ending March

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

TOTAL INCIDENTS

4,469

6,332

9,621

10,666

13,118

18,325

21,575

20,295

Class A drug types:

Cocaine

75

89

108

128

167

1,216

1,966

2,083

Crack

8

12

29

26

42

48

49

59

Heroin

209

184

232

163

173

400

639

591

LSD

0

5

5

0

3

60

154

81

Methadone

-

-

7

20

23

24

32

26

Class A Total(4)

292

290

381

337

408

1,748

2,840

2,840

Class B drug types:

Amphetamines

63

48

60

55

66

199

273

435

Barbiturates

23

12

6

10

9

13

20

12

Cannabis

1,142

901

1,006

1,582

2,258

3,144

3,723

3,292

Cannabis Plant

328

239

186

181

258

328

408

287

Class B Total(4)

1,556

1,200

1,258

1,828

2,591

3,684

4,424

4,026

Class C drug types:

Benzodiazepines

-

-

23

22

34

92

95

115

Buprenorphine/Subutex

-

-

208

264

296

329

335

331

Steroids

-

-

383

659

593

581

475

372

Tramadol

-

-

20

23

33

33

86

89

Tranquilisers

23

25

25

19

29

29

30

31

Class C Total(4)

23

25

659

987

985

1,064

1,021

938

Prescription drug types:

Gabapentin

-

-

28

45

64

110

144

89

Pregabalin

-

-

42

80

159

219

273

203

Prescription drugs Total(4)

-

-

70

125

223

329

417

292

Psychoactive substances (5)

-

-

3,182

4,560

4,667

6,658

8,192

9,114

Other (6)

2,898

5,236

3,322

1,182

1,605

2,302

2,922

2,535

Unknown

-

-

1,645

3,087

3,930

4,380

4,362

2,607

Source: HMPPS Incident Reporting System

(1) A breakdown showing drug type for incidents where drugs were found in prisons was introduced in January 2013.

(2) A new incident type was introduced in October 2015. This added an additional 9 categories of drugs that are reportable which, prior to this period would have been reported under 'other'. The drug types which were added at this point are: Psychoactive substances, Benzodiazepines (included within tranquillisers), Buprenorphine, Gabapentin, Methadone, Pregabalin, Steroids, Tremadol and a category for when the drug type is unknown. This incident type also introduced the formal reporting of drug weight found in incidents so this is only available from this time.

(3) More than one type of drug can be found in a single incident, therefore the sum of the drug types found will be higher than the total incidents.

(4) Totals are the sum of the sub-categories within each section. As more than one type of drug can be found in a single incident, sum totals will include some incidents multiple times.

(5) In the Psychoactive Substances Act (2016) “psychoactive substance” means any substance which is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it, and is not an exempted substance. Exempted substances are: controlled drugs, medicinal products, alcohol or alcoholic products, nicotine, tobacco products, caffeine or caffeine products or any substance which is ordinarily consumed as food, and does not contain a prohibited ingredient.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/2/contents

(6) The 'other' category may include drugs which would be presented in the other classifications but are not formally recorded so cannot be split out into these categories.

Figures showing the number of incidents where drugs were found in prisons, by drug type, are published from April 2016 onwards in the HMPPS Annual Digest, April 2020 to March 2021, table 9.2b (within the link below). A breakdown showing drug type for incidents where drugs were found in prisons was introduced in January 2013. It is not possible to provide a breakdown by type of drug prior to then, but the above table includes an additional breakdown of drug type between 2013-14 and 2015-16 that is not included within the published data.

Figures showing a breakdown of drug finds by drug weight are only available from October 2015 and are included within table 9.2d (within the link below):

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hmpps-annual-digest-april-2020-to-march-2021

We’re spending £100m to bolster security and clamp down on illicit items such as drugs that fuel crime behind bars.


Written Question
Heroin: Smuggling
Thursday 25th November 2021

Asked by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps she has taken to tackle the importation of contaminated heroin.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

Drugs devastate lives, ruin families and damage communities. The Government is committed to driving down drugs supply in the UK through tough law enforcement, which is reflected in increases in drug seizures in recent years. Each seizure is stopping illegal drugs reaching our streets which bring misery to our communities. We support partnership working between the National Crime Agency, Border Force, and local policing, using intelligence and technology to keep our borders safe and secure, prevent drug trafficking and bring those responsible to justice.

In the event that contamination in supply raises the risk that drugs present, the National Crime Agency, police and The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - formally Public Health England - work together, monitoring the situation to understand the factors involved and deliver a rapid response to reduce harm and help prevent drug related deaths.

In August 2021, Public Health England issued an alert to all public health and drug services, following a number of deaths linked to possible heroin contamination. The NCA worked closely with the National Police Chief’s Council, Public Health England and others, to share intelligence, assess the situation and take decisive steps to prevent further loss of life.


Written Question
Human Trafficking and Smuggling: Balkans
Monday 22nd November 2021

Asked by: Baroness Helic (Conservative - Life peer)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the illegal traffic into the UK of (1) drugs, (2) firearms, and (3) people, originating in or going via the Western Balkans.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford - Minister of State (Home Office)

Western Balkan organised crime groups are involved in the production and supply of cannabis into the UK. The Western Balkans is a major transit route for heroin shipments into Europe. Some of these shipments will be destined for the UK. The scale of Organised Immigration Crime in and through the region has reduced but remains problematic. More generally the Western Balkans is a transit route for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. The Western Balkan region is highly likely to be a key source for criminal firearms in many states across Europe. However, the UK sees very few Original Lethal Purpose firearms from the region. We are continuing to reduce the supply and availability of illegal firearms to prevent their use by criminal or terrorist groups in the UK. Alongside the threat to the UK posed by drugs, firearms and people coming from or going through the region, OCGs based in or originating from the region pose a threat through their activities in the UK or transporting illicit commodities into the UK from other parts of the world.

The Government’s response to the threat posed by these groups is set out in the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy launched in November 2018. Our approach has been to work closely with international partners, including those in the Western Balkans, to ensure we leave no safe spaces for criminals and their associates. We have mobilised a robust international response using multilateral channels, and have increased our international presence by deploying liaison officers to the region.


Written Question
Heroin: Rehabilitation
Monday 8th November 2021

Asked by: Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op) - York Central)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide pilots for heroine assisted treatment programmes as part of his drugs strategy.

Answered by Maggie Throup - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The drug strategy is currently under development. Heroin assisted treatment (HAT) is an option open to local areas under the existing legal framework. The Government allows areas to provide HAT where the need is demonstrated and where the relevant licences are obtained from the Home Office.


Written Question
Drugs: Organised Crime
Tuesday 6th July 2021

Asked by: Crispin Blunt (Conservative - Reigate)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2021 to Question 14126 and with reference to the findings of the Dame Carol Black review of drugs: phase one report, what assessment has been made of the effect of county line closures and drugs seized on (a) drug availability or rates of drug use, (b) potency, (c) price and (d) new trends including local recruitment of children and children being missing for longer periods in adaption to police activity and covid-19; what Government national leadership and oversight on the implementation of a public health approaches to youth violence has taken place; how the Department for Education is involved with that oversight; what assessment she has made of the ethical implications of state use of children to be used as a covert human intelligence source as detailed in The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill; and whether a Child Rights impact assessment has been undertaken in relation to that proposed policy.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

In May 2021, the National County Lines Coordination Centre published the latest County Lines strategic assessment. The assessment found that county lines continue to be at the forefront of drug supply nationally and have evolved in response to environmental changes.

The county lines business model remains heavily weighted towards the supply of heroin and crack cocaine. NCLCC’s latest assessment indicates that there has been a reduction in the total number of potentially active deal lines, with numbers reported to have fallen from between 800-1,100 in 2019/20 to 600 in 2020/21.

We continue to work with partners to address the underlying drivers of exploitation and ensure support and protection is in place for children exploited through county lines criminality. We have funded specialist support for victims of county lines exploitation to deliver one-to-one support to under 25s and their families in the three largest county lines exporting force areas

This Government is also delivering a range of initiatives to tackle youth violence including investing over £105.5 million in Violence Reduction Units from 2019 to 2022. The Home Office works closely with the Department for Education to tackle youth violence.

We will continue to use data on rates of drug use to monitor trends and inform the Government’s approach to addressing drugs and drug harms.

The Government acknowledges the strength of feeling on juvenile CHIS, however, we must recognise that some juveniles are involved in serious crimes, as perpetrators and victims. In some circumstances a young person may have unique access to information or intelligence that could play a vital part in preventing or detecting serious offences.

Young people are only authorised as CHIS in rare circumstances. Between January 2015 and December 2018, there were only 17 instances where law enforcement bodies deployed those under 18 years old as CHIS, and their participation in criminal conduct is rarer still.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 includes a commitment on the face of the legislation that young people will only be authorised to undertake criminal conduct in exceptional circumstances.


Written Question
Heroin: Rehabilitation
Monday 5th July 2021

Asked by: Crispin Blunt (Conservative - Reigate)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reasons Heroin Assisted Treatment programmes are not eligible to apply for funding from Project ADDER.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

Injectable opiate treatment programmes compliant with legislation and clinical guidance are supported by the Home Office and Public Health England and are in scope for Project ADDER funding. The Home Office and Public Health England have worked closely with delivery partners in each of the pilot Project ADDER areas to develop a delivery plan based on local need to provide a whole-system response to drugs misuse and drug-related harms locally.


Written Question
Drugs: Misuse
Friday 11th June 2021

Asked by: Crispin Blunt (Conservative - Reigate)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2020 to Question 6165 on Drugs: Misuse, what the evidential basis is for suggestion that drug consumption clinics encourage drug use; what assessment she has made of the consistency of her policy on drug consumption clinics with the findings of the reports entitled (a) Reducing opioid-related deaths in the UK, published by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in December 2016 and (b) What is the current evidence for the efficacy of drug consumption rooms?, published by Public Health England in March 2019, that there was no evidence that drug consumption clinics increase drug use; and what her policy is on evidence-based approaches to reduce the health-related harms of drug misuse.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

Drug Consumption Rooms are not legal in the UK. A range of crimes would be committed in the course of running such a facility, by both service users and staff, such as possession of a controlled drug, being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug, knowingly permitting the supply of a controlled drug on a premises or encouraging or assisting these and other offences.

The Government is aware of the differing views on Drug Consumption Rooms and that they are subject to much debate. We will give due consideration to any new evidence on the harms and benefits of Drug Consumption Rooms including the extent to which they condone or encourage drug use or otherwise.

We continue to support a range of evidence-based approaches to reduce the health-related harms of drug misuse, such as maintaining the availability of needle and syringe programmes to prevent blood borne infections and widening the availability of naloxone to prevent overdose deaths. Heroin assisted treatment is also an option open to local areas under the existing legal framework subject to obtaining the relevant licences from the Home Office.

The Government is focused on improving the quality of, and access to, drug treatment services to support individuals to recover and turn their lives around. That is why, on 20 January the Government announced £148 million of new investment to cut crime and protect people from the scourge of illegal drugs. This package includes £80 million for drug treatment services across England, which represents the largest increase in drug treatment funding for 15 years.


Written Question
Drugs: Smuggling
Friday 26th February 2021

Asked by: Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party - Inverclyde)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what quantity by weight of (a) cannabis, (b) heroin, (c) morphine, (d) cocaine (including crack), (e) benzodiazepines, (f) synthetic cannabinoids, (g) amphetamines, (h) MDMA, (i) LSD, (j) magic mushrooms and (k) anabolic steroids were seized by (i) the police, (ii) Border Force, (iii) prison services, (iv) armed forces and (v) other government agencies in (A) UK territory, (B) UK territorial waters, (C) international waters and (D) overseas territories in each year between 1971 and 2020.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the quantity of class A, class B and class C drugs seized in England and Wales by the police, including the British Transport Police, and Border Force. This data is published annually. The quantities of drugs seized are summarised in terms of kilograms, doses (in thousands) or plants, depending on the drug type.

Official statistics on seizures of drugs in England and Wales between 2000 and 2020 are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/seizures-of-drugs-in-england-and-wales.

Statistics on seizures of drugs in England and Wales between 1978 and 2000 can be found on the National Archive Research Development and Statistics website: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Data for earlier years is not available. Information on drugs seized by the prison services, armed forces and other government agencies, and data on seizures made outside England and Wales is not held by the Home Office.


Written Question
Prisoners: Naloxone
Wednesday 15th July 2020

Asked by: Lyn Brown (Labour - West Ham)

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the level of consistency in access to naloxone for residents with an opioid dependency within Approved Premises throughout England and Wales.

Answered by Lucy Frazer - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

Naloxone is a drug that can reverse the effects and overdose of opioids, such as heroin, methadone, opium, codeine, morphine and buprenorphine and can be administered by health care professionals and appropriately trained staff. Medical professionals have been using naloxone in emergencies for many years and HM Prison and Probation Service ensures staff are aware of its appropriate use wherever necessary.

The assessment and suitability of naloxone is a matter for the local drug agency. Approved Premises (AP) residents are permitted to use naloxone when prescribed to them by substance misuse services. In some prisons it is issued at the point of release to known opioid substance misusers, again by substance misuse services. Emergency Service responders arriving at an AP will also administer naloxone if considered appropriate. The National Probation Service (NPS) is currently reviewing implementation of the administration of naloxone by AP staff.

HMPPS Wales are exploring with the Welsh Government and other devolved services the procurement of naloxone and the opportunities to train staff in Approved Premises in the nasal administration of naloxone. This is following Prison and Probation Ombudsman recommendations regarding the life saving benefits afforded by naloxone.

The Government takes the mental health and wellbeing of offenders very seriously and we recognise that anxieties during the Covid-19 pandemic may exacerbate mental health needs and increase the risk of self-harm among offenders. We are continuing to work to mitigate this as far as possible.

Within APs, we have continued our programme of work to support residents and staff to reduce risk of suicide and self- harm, including updated guidance and the identification of high-risk factors relating to quarantine and self-isolation. This approach is integrated into our exceptional delivery model and includes reviewed and updated safety and support planning for residents and updated distraction resource packs in every AP.


Written Question
Naloxone
Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Asked by: Thangam Debbonaire (Labour - Bristol West)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the availability of naloxone for preventing death caused by heroin overdose.

Answered by Jo Churchill - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

No assessment has been made on the adequacy of the availability of naloxone for preventing death caused by heroin overdose.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services to meet these needs. This includes making sure they have sufficient coverage of naloxone to prevent drug-related deaths.