Boris Johnson has rejected calls for a safe drugs consumption room to be set up to help tackle Scotland’s drugs death crisis – saying he feared such a facility could “encourage” greater consumption of illegal substances.
With powers over drugs laws reserved to Westminster, politicians in Scotland, including Scottish Government ministers, have been pressing the UK Government on the issue.
Supporters argue such a facility, where users could take drugs in a supervised environment, would help reduce deaths and overdoses.
And with Scotland having registered a record 1339 drugs deaths in 2020, the Prime Minister was asked if he would give the idea his backing.
Johnson said that while the number of deaths linked to drugs was “absolutely tragic” he was “not instinctively attracted to something that might lead to more consumption of drugs”.
The Prime Minister stated: “I am anxious about something that might lead to more consumption of drugs, rather than less, that’s my anxiety.”
Speaking to journalists during a two-day trip to Scotland, he said: “I think that the number of drug deaths in Scotland is absolutely tragic and across the whole country, particularly, obviously, in Scotland.
“It’s an appalling blight on our country and a tragedy for so many families, but I think that what we’ve got to do is make sure that we deal with the problem sensitively and humanely, try to help people off drugs to deal with their addictions.”
He said action was also needed to “crack down on the county lines drugs gangs” used by dealers.
Pressed on whether he would support the establishment of a drugs consumption room, Johnson said there were “legitimate questions to be asked about measures that might encourage more consumption of drugs”.