Lord Advocate blocks plan for safer drug consumption facility that would have helped contain Glasgow’s HIV outbreak

It has been reported in the media that Scotland’s Lord Advocate has blocked plans for a safer drug consumption facility in Glasgow, which was approved by Glasgow’s Integrated Joint Board in October 2016.

David Liddell, CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum, said: ‘This is a hugely depressing decision.  It means that a drug consumption room cannot be delivered in a timescale that will respond to the pressing needs of a group who are among the most vulnerable in our society.

“One of the benefits of this service would have been to help contain Glasgow’s HIV outbreak.  We have spent a year awaiting this decision.  We  should  redouble our efforts and deliver heroin-assisted treatment now to this population. There are no legal barriers to this provision.

“Scotland faces significant problems:

  • 61,500 people with drug problems – the highest in Europe per head of population
  • 867 fatal overdose deaths in 2016 – again the highest in Europe per head of population (average age 41)
  • Continuing outbreaks of infection among drug injectors – the most recent being 105 cases of HIV in an ongoing outbreak in Glasgow (average age 44)
  • High numbers of unplanned hospital admissions for untreated health conditions in people with a drug problem particularly those aged 35 and over

“We also need a wider vision of how we reach out to Scotland’s most vulnerable people and help them address the significant health and social challenges they face.”