Drugs czar makes way for Home Office

14 Jun 01
The government's drugs czar, Keith Hellawell, is to lose his job in the wake of new Home Secretary David Blunkett's takeover of responsibility for the fight against drugs.

15 June 2001

Hellawell, based in the Cabinet Office and the highest-paid adviser in Whitehall at £106,000 a year, is stepping down from his post later in the summer. He will stay on in a part-time basis, said the Home Office, working on international drug strategy.

Ministers concluded that the department which tackles crime reduction and policing should also be responsible for their anti-drug strategy.

'If we're going to mobilise people, then we need to co-ordinate the drive against drug abuse and the drive against criminal activities,' said Blunkett.

Anti-drug measures will be directed by Blunkett and junior Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth who, it was announced on June 13, would have responsibility for anti-drugs co-ordination and organised crime. Ainsworth, MP for Coventry North East, said 'energetic, pragmatic and thoughtful approaches' were needed by the government.

Despite the shift in policy emphasis and the removal of Hellawell, a Home Office spokeswoman denied that government policy had so far been a failure.

Figures published earlier this year show that around a third of all adults aged between 16 and 59 have used illicit drugs or solvents at some time in their lives.


Did you enjoy this article?