HIV Scotland have welcomed the latest report from the Scottish Affairs Committee. The report, Problem Drug Use in Scotland, recommended the decriminalisation of the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use, an opening of a drug consumption room in Glasgow, and ringfenced Scottish Government funding to tackle the problem in areas that are already devolved.

In 2017, HIV Scotland led the HIV Anti-Stigma Consortium who published Scotland’s HIV Anti-Stigma Strategy: Road Map to Zero, that said the criminalisation of drug use promotes stigmatisation, and creates further barriers for accessing treatment, care or support.

Nathan Sparling, HIV Scotland’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a public health emergency. The criminalisation of drug use has fuelled the HIV epidemic and continues to result in overwhelmingly negative health and social consequences. Today’s report paves a way forward to stop the deaths.  

“Any death caused by drugs is a blight on our society, and it’s time for radical change. We know that intersecting inequalities lead to poorer health outcomes, so we need a wide-ranging, holistic approach that not only addresses the decriminalisation of drugs but access to housing and support. Only by tackling the root causes of problem drug use can we truly get a grip on this issue.

“Whilst we believe the powers should be granted to open a drug consumption room in Scotland, it won’t solve all the problems. We’re glad that this report calls for action from both the UK and Scottish Governments. We can’t just click our heels and wish for progress, we need change and we need it now.”