A report by the Scottish Affairs Committee to be published on 04/11/2019 is calling for Scotland to adopt a public health approach to problem drug use. It calls on the UK government to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use and for the Department of Health and Social Care to take over lead responsibility for drugs policy from the Home Office. Additionally, it argues that the government’s reasons for blocking proposals to introduce drug consumption rooms are “not convincing” and calls for devolved powers to introduce a safe drug consumption facility in Glasgow.
Andrew Horne, Director of Addaction in Scotland, welcomed the committee’s call for decriminalisation of drug use in Scotland:
“We warmly welcome this report from the Scottish Affairs Committee. Trying to arrest our way out of problematic drug use has been a categorical failure, so it’s heartening to see momentum forming behind a health focused approach. People who develop problems with drugs need compassion and support, not punishment. I just hope the powers in Westminster are listening.”
Horne also reiterated calls for the introduction of drug consumption rooms:
“There are 78 drug consumption rooms across Europe and there’s never been a recorded death from overdose in any of them. The evidence shows that they reduce deaths, lower rates of infection and help people access support services.
“People are dying at record levels. It’s our job to do what works to keep them alive and help them access support.”