We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

UK’s first legalised drug consumption room approved

The Scottish Government backs the plans but some MSPs have raised concerns about the impact on the local area, including on businesses.

The UK’s first drug consumption room for users to take illegal drugs under medical supervision has been approved.

The £2.3 million facility is planned for Glasgow’s east end and will allow users to take their own illegal drugs in a hygienic environment with medical staff on hand.

First proposed in 2016 following an HIV outbreak in the city, the development of drug consumption rooms has been embroiled in years of political wrangling between the Scottish and UK governments.

But earlier this month, Scotland’s most senior law officer, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, announced it would not be “in the public interest” to prosecute people using such a facility.

The pilot project planned for Hunter Street, in the same building as a current drug treatment facility, was approved by the Glasgow City Integration Joint Board meeting on Wednesday morning.

The board involves NHS and council officials and recommended approval of the scheme in a report.

The report states: “There is overwhelming international evidence which demonstrates that safer drug consumption facilities can improve the health, wellbeing and recovery of people who use the facility and reduce the negative impact that public injecting has on local communities and businesses.”

It highlights that following the HIV outbreak, an assessment “found there are approximately 400 to 500 people injecting drugs in public places in Glasgow city centre on a regular basis”.

It adds: “Injecting in public spaces increases the risk of infection and other drug related harms, and also causes a risk to the public from discarded injecting equipment and needles.”

The Scottish Government backs the plans but some MSPs have raised concerns about the impact on the local area, including on businesses.

Scotland’s drug and alcohol policy minister Elena Whitham welcomed the board’s decision and said the Government has committed to making up £2,347,000 yearly for it from April 2024/25.

She said: “We know this is not a silver bullet. But we know from evidence from more than 100 facilities worldwide that safer drug consumption facilities work.

“It is time to see this approach piloted in Scotland and while the service would still be limited to some extent, due to the Misuse of Drugs Act reserved to Westminster, we are confident it would save lives.

“It’s vital this pilot has the full confidence of the general public as well as those who use the facility, and the leadership of Glasgow and Police Scotland will help ensure it is introduced as quickly as possible.”

Westminster’s Home Affairs Committee recommended pilots of safe consumption facilities in areas across the UK where local government and others deem there is a need, in a report published last month.

Home Office minister Chris Philp said previously the UK Government does not support such facilities in England and Wales, over concern they “condone or even encourage” drug use.

Leave a Comment
View Comments 2
In Other News
Consultation launched on tougher sentences for domestic killers
CoLP launches strategy for fraud, economic and cyber crime
PSNI cyber support units a plus but mobile backlogs remain
More News