Construction begins on UK's first official drug consumption room in Glasgow

The facility is expected to be completed in six months in a bid to crack down on Scotland's drug death crisis.

Construction begins on UK’s first official drug consumption room in Glasgow Getty Images

Work has begun to build the UK’s first official drug consumption room in Glasgow.

The site will allow addicts to inject drugs such as heroin under the supervision of health professionals.

It’s hoped the £2.3m facility will help tackle Scotland’s drug death crisis – the worst in Europe.

The safe consumption room will be based in the Hunter Street Health and Social Care Centre in the east end of the city.

Users will be able to take illegal drugs under medical supervision at £2.3m facility planned for the city's east end.STV News

The Scottish Government backs the plans but some MSPs have raised concerns about the impact on the local area, including on businesses.

The UK Government does not support the plans, saying there is no safe way to take illegal drugs, but said it would not seek to block the pilot.

Work to transform the centre to a fully working drug consumption facility began on Monday and is expected to be finished in six months.

A report by the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said the centre required “significant building redesign”.

Officials said it faces challenges around ventilation in the space as well as “ensuring that any fumes from any substances are extracted from the injecting room booths and do not impact on any staff that need to be present in this room”.

A CGI mock-up of the safe drug consumption room set to be built in Glasgow.Glasgow City Council

The report said that because the pilot project will be the first of its kind in the UK, there is no current guidance on its ventilation requirements.

Officials have sought advice from international drug consumption rooms as well as Police Scotland, which disposes of drugs at a facility in Gartcosh.

Glasgow City Council is also seeking an exclusion that would allow them to attach an external smoking shelter to the centre.

“This will be key to retaining service users on site after they have injected, in a way that meaningful dialogue can take place in the aftercare area,” the report added.

‘This is a huge step forward for Glasgow’

Councillor Allan Casey, city convener for workforce, homelessness and addiction services, said: “This is a major milestone in the journey to opening a safer drug consumption facility. 

“I’m delighted we have finally managed to get to this stage after years of campaigning and building a strong case to open such an important facility in Glasgow.

“We have overcome so many hurdles and to see construction work finally begin on the site is hugely promising.

“This is a huge step forward in how the city deals with those in addiction and providing this vital safe space will reduce the harm caused by problematic drug use and save lives.”

A CGI mock-up of the after care part of the building.Glasgow City Council

It comes just a day after Police Scotland said that suspected drug deaths in Scotland surged by 10% last year.

The force found there were 1,197 suspected drug deaths between January and December 2023.

This was 10% (105) more than during the same period of 2022 (1,092).

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