'We need to do something different': UK gets first legal drug injecting room

27 September 2023, 08:46 | Updated: 27 September 2023, 12:02

A drug user in Scotland prepares their next fix
A drug user in Scotland prepares their next fix. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Drug users will be able to take illicit substances legally in a dedicated room for the first time in the UK.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The consumption room for illegal drugs in Glasgow was approved on Wednesday. Drug users will be able to take illegal substances like heroin and crack cocaine in a hygienic environment and with supervision from healthcare professionals.

Some 400-500 people are known to inject drugs regularly in public places in Glasgow, which is illegal, unhygienic and anti-social.

A doctor who will help run the facility said that evidence from around 100 other drug consumption rooms around the world showed that they made a positive difference and helped drug users get treatment.

Read more: British Airways pilot 'snorted drugs off topless woman on night out then tried to fly 12-hour trip to UK'

Read more: Experts fear Fentanyl slipping into drugs 'under the radar' - as at least 70 types found in UK

The facility
The facility. Picture: Alamy

"I think the case for this is as relevant now as it always was," Dr Saket Priyadarshi told the BBC.

A decision was made on the pilot facility at a joint meeting with local councillors and NHS officials.

People who took drugs in the room will be safe from prosecution: Scotland's senior lawyer has said that it is "not in the public interest" to pursue such cases.

Scotland has the most drugs deaths per capita in Europe. Some 1,330 people died of drug-related deaths in 2022, which fell to 1,051 last year. This is a massive increase on the 244 who died in 1996.

These shocking statistics have prompted a debate on how to solve Scotland's drug crisis.

Police officer: It is 'naive' to decriminalise possession of drugs

Scotland's Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians support the drug room policy, but the UK Home Office has consistently said that "there is no safe way to take illegal drugs".

Elena Whitham, the SNP minister for drugs and alcohol policy, told the Scottish Parliament: "The war on drugs is over. No one won and the main casualties were not organised criminals but the poorest and most vulnerable."

Police said there was no easy fix to the problem of drugs and addiction.

Ali Miraj defends drug consumption rooms

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, head of local policing at Police Scotland, said: "We know that Scotland as a nation needs to do something different and, within the confines of the law, Police Scotland is going to be a part of that, working in partnership.

"We need to tackle the demand and we also need to tackle the harm."

He added: "There is no single answer to this problem that our nation faces."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Israel-Hamas conflict

UK and Jordan drop aid supplies to Gaza City hospital

Parents can apply for the certificate from 9am

'Baby loss certificates' introduced for parents who lose baby before 24 weeks, as ministers consider statutory leave

The UK is set to see more rain on Thursday

Flood warnings as yet more heavy rain brings travel chaos, with 70mph winds battering the coasts

Alabama Frozen Embryos

Hospital pauses IVF in wake of ruling saying frozen embryos are children

The baby's birth certificate was damaged in a passport application

Jewish father whose baby had 'Israel' defaced from baby's birth certificate 'will sue the staff members responsible'

Robin Windsor was 'found dead in a London hotel'

Friends launched frantic three-day hunt for Strictly star Robin Windsor before he 'was found dead in hotel in London'

China San Diego Panda Diplomacy

China plans to send San Diego Zoo more pandas, reigniting panda diplomacy

Exclusive
The baby's birth certificate was damaged in a passport application

Staff members 'sacked' after 'Israel' is scrubbed off Jewish baby's birth certificate on passport application

Exclusive
Barnaby Webber's mother hit out at police who shared details about on her son's death

Police officer who viewed bodycam footage of Barnaby Webber dying in street after Nottingham attack sacked

Lindsay Hoyle apologised to MPs

Commons Speaker fighting for his political life as dozens of MPs call for him to go after sparking chaos over Gaza vote

A bucket rests next to caution tape on a beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida

Girl ‘killed after hole she dug in sand collapsed on Florida beach’

President Joe Biden visits CJ’s Cafe in Los Angeles

Joe Biden cancels student loan debt for 153,000 borrowers

Beyonce

Beyonce becomes first black woman to top Billboard’s country music chart

The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Boeing ousts head of 737 jetliner programme weeks after panel blowout

Fans are livid after the realisation.

'This is the worst day': Cadbury fans left furious after realising Easter chocolate favourite has been discontinued

Court artist sketch of former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez in court

Honduran ex-president on trial in US accused of drugs trafficking