Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate her Department has made of the number of people in (a) rural and (b) non-rural areas with (i) drug and (ii) alcohol dependency (A) in absolute terms and (B) per head of population; and if she will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The Departments 2004 alcohol needs assessment research project is the first alcohol needs assessment in England conducted on a national scale, and reports there are 1.1 million people in England who meet the criteria of alcohol dependence. We are unable to supply a breakdown of rural and non-rural areas, however regional breakdown is shown in table 1.
Data on drug dependence is available from the survey Psychiatric Morbidity Among Adults (aged 16 to 74) Living in Private Households (in Great Britain) carried out in 2000, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
We are unable to break down the prevalence by rural or non-rural areas, however the latest data we have available from the ONS survey is shown in table 2. This provides the prevalence of drug dependence of adults aged 16-74 by NHS regional office area, based on responses to five questions, about drug use in the year prior to interview.
|Table 2: Prevalence of drug dependence of adults( 1) , by NHS regional office area and sex (rate per thousand population), 2000
|Rate per thousand in past year
|Northern and Yorkshire
|denotes no cases
0 denotes values less than 0.5 per cent.
(1) Adults aged 16-74
The sample for England has been subdivided into eight NHS regional office areas, which should not be mistaken for the current Government office region structure. The sample sizes in a number of regions are quite small and there was differential non-response between regions.
Psychiatric Morbidity Among Adults Living in Private Households, 2000. Office for National Statistics carried out on behalf of Department of Health, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales.