UK's first drug consumption room to get go-ahead

The pilot facility is set to be approved by officials in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The UK’s first drug consumption room is to be given the go-ahead in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The facility would allow users to take their own drugs under the supervision of health professionals.

Glasgow City Council is expected to approve plans for the pilot Safe Drug Consumption Facility (SDFC) which campaigners say could be “life changing” in the country’s battle against the crisis of drug deaths.

Scotland’s drug death rate remains the highest in Europe. More than 1,000 people died as a result of drug-related poisonings in the last year.

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.

Draft design of the Glasgow City SDCFGCC

The proposed location for the facility is Hunter Street in the city’s east end, where a heroin assisted treatment service has been operating since 2019.

It will open 365 days a year between 9am and 9pm and the report states that, if approved, alcohol and drug recovery services will recruit, train and manage the workforce required.

The Scottish Government committed £2.3m from April 2024 for its first year of operating while Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) will pay building costs and for the necessary redesign of Hunter Street.

The plans will be taken to the city council’s Integration Joint Board (IJB) – a partnership between the council and NHS, which directs the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) –  for approval.

After first being proposed in 2016, plans for the facility could not progress without change to the Crown Office prosecution policy.

Earlier this month, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC said she would not prosecute those found in possession of controlled substances within the pilot facility.

In a statement she said she believed it would “not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility”.

There are now more than 100 similar facilities worldwide, including in Europe, Canada, and Australia

Earlier this month, Glasgow City Council became the first local authority in the UK to formally support the decriminalisation of drug consumption.

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