PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

HOUSE OF COMMONS

OFFICIAL REPORT

Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation

DRAFT MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1971 (MODIFICATION) ORDER 1996

Thursday 18 April 1996

LONDON: HMSO

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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Sir Alan Haselhurst

Abbott, Ms Diane (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington)

Miller, Mr. Andrew (Ellesmere Port and Neston)

Nicholson, Mr. David (Taunton)

Alexander, Mr. Richard (Newark)

Sackville, Mr. Tom (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department)

Burns, Mr. Simon (Lord Commissioner to the Treasury)

Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick and Leamington)

Cann, Mr. Jamie (Ipswich)

Smyth, Reverend Martin (Belfast, South)

French, Mr. Douglas (Gloucester)

Spink, Dr. Robert (Castle Point)

Grant, Mr. Bernie (Tottenham)

Sykes, Mr. John (Scarborough)

Hawksley, Mr. Warren (Halesowen and Stourbridge)

Tipping, Mr. Paddy (Sherwood)

Howarth, Mr. George (Knowsley, North)

Twinn, Dr. Ian (Edmonton)

Khabra, Mr. Piara S. (Ealing, Southall)

Madden, Mr. Max (Bradford, West)

Mr. P. A. Evans Committee Clerk

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3 Sixth Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation Thursday 18 April 1996

[SIR ALAN HASELHURST in the Chair]

Draft Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Modification) Order 1996

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Tom Sackville): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Modification) Order 1996. The purpose of the order is to bring the substances listed therein within the terms of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. There has been concern for a number of years about the effects of the misuse of anabolic steroids and in October 1992 we asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to reconsider the matter. Assisted by a report from the Department of Health on anabolic steroid use in Great Britain and evidence from a number of bodies, including the Sports Council, the advisory council decided that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that the misuse of such substances and those with similar effects constituted a social problem. That advice led to the order being brought forward. The substances have two effects. One is to increase muscle mass and the other is to masculinise. Such effects may be attractive to people who want to improve their athletic performance or enhance their physical appearance. 4 We are concerned about the serious effects of anabolic steroids on people's health. Reported side effects include liver and kidney disorders, high blood pressure and adverse effects on sexual organs—I have not sought more detail on the final item, but it sounds serious. There is also some evidence that steroids may cause changes in mood, including aggressive behaviour. Some substances are injected and injectors run the risk of contracting HIV and AIDS, hepatitis and other communicable diseases through the use of non-sterile injecting equipment. That is the basis on which the advisory council recommended that anabolic steroids and similar substances should be controlled. The substances are different in nature, as are those who use them, from what used to be called the drug culture, but all misuse of drugs should be discouraged and the order will go a long way towards achieving that aim.

10.32 am

Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North): It is not my intention to oppose the order. Our view on such matters has always been constructive and we have always felt that when sensible measures were being taken to control drug misuse; our responsibility was to support them. It is clear from what the Minister said that proper consultation has taken place. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has considered the matter and all the relevant bodies have been consulted. We accept that there is a need to codify when such substances may be used and, more particularly, when they may not. That is a sensible way of proceeding and the Opposition do not oppose the order.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Modification) Order 1996

Committee rose at twenty-seven minutes to Eleven o'clock.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:

Sir Alan Haselhurst (Chairman)

Alexander, Mr.

Burns, Mr.

Howarth, Mr. George

Nicholson, Mr. David

Sackville, Mr.

Smyth, Reverend Martin

Spink, Dr.

Sykes, Mr.

Tipping, Mr.

Twinn, Dr.