It has been reported in the media that Scotland’s Lord Advocate has blocked plans for a safer drug consumption facility in Glasgow, which was approved by Glasgow’s Integrated Joint Board in October 2016.
David Liddell, CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum, said: ‘This is a hugely depressing decision. It means that a drug consumption room cannot be delivered in a timescale that will respond to the pressing needs of a group who are among the most vulnerable in our society.
“One of the benefits of this service would have been to help contain Glasgow’s HIV outbreak. We have spent a year awaiting this decision. We should redouble our efforts and deliver heroin-assisted treatment now to this population. There are no legal barriers to this provision.
“Scotland faces significant problems:
- 61,500 people with drug problems – the highest in Europe per head of population
- 867 fatal overdose deaths in 2016 – again the highest in Europe per head of population (average age 41)
- Continuing outbreaks of infection among drug injectors – the most recent being 105 cases of HIV in an ongoing outbreak in Glasgow (average age 44)
- High numbers of unplanned hospital admissions for untreated health conditions in people with a drug problem particularly those aged 35 and over
“We also need a wider vision of how we reach out to Scotland’s most vulnerable people and help them address the significant health and social challenges they face.”