Four Scottish charities have submitted a written response to the UK Parliament’s Health Select Committee as part of their inquiry into drug policy. The submission explored the potential drug consumption room (DCR) in Glasgow, the benefits of it, and the current barriers to its opening.

The submission, signed by HIV Scotland, the Scottish Drugs Forum, Hepatitis Scotland, and Waverley Care, explained that:

 

  • DCRs are cost-effective, reduce public injecting, do not increase injecting frequency, drug use, or drug-related crime, and increase the uptake of social work and addiction services
  • The introduction of a DCR in Glasgow could potentially reach 400-500 people that currently partake in public injecting - a particularly vulnerable population who face severe and multiple disadvantages and are disproportionately affected by health inequalities
  • The legal barriers that are currently in place to a DCR in Glasgow could be solved by an exemption to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to protect both people that inject drugs and the staff at such a facility.

 

Nathan Sparling, Chief Executive of HIV Scotland, said:

“The localisation of drug laws would allow the Scottish Government to respond far faster and in a far more relevant manner than the current legal framework allows. Allowing the Scottish Government to act in the best interests of its citizens in this instance makes perfect sense, and we hope that the committee agrees.”

Leon Wylie, Lead Officer for Hepatitis Scotland, said:

“With legislative control reserved to Westminster it’s important that they understand the actual issues affecting the people we work with and stand for. The international evidence base tells a positive story but at the moment Westminster is not listening.”

Grant Sugden, Chief Executive of Waverley Care, said:

“The establishment of a DCR in Glasgow could play a really important part in addressing the huge health impacts of problem drug use. In particular, it would help tackle the transmission of blood-borne viruses amongst some of society’s most vulnerable individuals.”