The Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) will continue to fight for the UK’s first Safer Drugs Consumption Facility despite legal barriers.
The space would allow people to inject drugs, such as heroin, under medical supervision.
The board’s proposal was approved by Glasgow’s Integrated Joint Board last year, but was blocked when the Lord Advocate, Scotland’s senior law officer, stated that no exemption from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 could be made.
Their proposals also include a Heroin-Assisted Treatment (HAT) service, where medical-grade heroin would be prescribed to a small number of people as well as operating a needle exchange and could be opened under current laws. Amid debate about consumption facilities, the board is pressing ahead with plans to deliver the facility in the city centre.
It is important to stress that HAT will only partially address the issues
Current estimates suggest there are around 500 people who inject drugs in public places in Glasgow city centre. The majority are individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, recent imprisonment and poverty.
Susanne Millar, Glasgow City HSCP Chief Officer for Strategy, Planning and Commissioning, said: “This public injecting group has high rates of hospital admissions, incarceration and homelessness.