UK’s first drug consumption room expected to be approved

The UK’s first drug consumption room is expected to get the go-ahead at a meeting in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The £2.3 million facility planned for the city’s east end would allow users to take their own illegal drugs under medical supervision.

Years of political wrangling between the Scottish and UK governments over consumption rooms came to a head earlier this month when 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, will be discussed at a Glasgow City Integration Joint Board meeting on Wednesday morning.

The board involves NHS and council officials and is recommending the scheme is approved.

A report set to go before the board 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 an HIV outbreak in the city, 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.