The UK’s first drug consumption room for users to take the likes of cocaine and heroin under medical supervision has been given the go ahead.
The £2.3 million facility is planned for Glasgow’s east end and would allow users to take their own illegal drugs in a hygienic environment with medical staff on hand, the Daily Record reports.
The development of drug consumption rooms has been embroiled in years of political wrangling between the Scottish and UK governments after it was first proposed in 2016 following an HIV outbreak in the city.
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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 health and council officials at 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.”
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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.
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