Renewed calls for drug consumption rooms.

The evidence they work for everyone:

The largest review ever undertaken, of 349 research studies, from across the globe though mostly in Europe, carried out by the Centre for Criminology at the University in South Wales in 2017, found that ‘safe’ or ‘supervised’ injection rooms significantly reduced drug-related harms, dramatically cut mortality and offered a range of benefits for the wider population, in terms of reduced crime, nuisance in public spaces, violence and trafficking.

Today from SNP Media

On the 50th anniversary of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the SNP has pledged support for the all-party campaign to reform drugs laws – including decriminalisation – and renewed calls for immediate action on drug consumption rooms.

The Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) was designed to prevent drug use and reduce harm but since it came into effect there has been a dramatic rise in drug use, addiction and deaths in the UK.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform met today to discuss the issues and how to reform UK drug policy to address the current failings of the Act.

In March, SNP MP Tommy Sheppard published his Private Members’ Bill, which outlines the legislative details of a series of reforms including decriminalising possession of small amounts of restricted drugs for personal use and ensuring that overdose prevention facilities – also known as drug consumption rooms – can operate legally. It would also see excessive drug use treated as a health emergency instead of a criminal matter.

The Bill has cross-party backing and is supported by a range of organisations including Transform Drug Policy Foundation, Release, and the Scottish Drug Forum. The legislative changes in it are based on evidence gathered by the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in 2019 from those affected by drug use, academics, service providers and others with significant expertise in this area.

Commenting, Tommy Sheppard MP said:

“While the SNP Scottish Government is stepping up with £250 million of funding to tackle the drug deaths emergency in Scotland, and SNP MPs are leading the campaign for drug reform in Westminster, the UK government continues to bury its head in the sand, hoping the problem will go away. That is wrong and will solve nothing.

“The Misuse of Drugs Act is outdated and not fit for purpose. A law intended to combat drug use has seen it rise. With record deaths and organised crime rampant it is time to look at wider reform of UK drugs policy and I am pleased to support the all-party campaign to do just that. However, that will take time. There are steps we can take now that will save lives and take us in a new direction.

“My Bill has lays the ground-work for the UK government to make quick and easy legislative changes that would immediately help tackle the issue and save lives. They barely have to lift a finger but so far they have refused to do even that.

“People are dying while the UK government continues to criminalise and stigmatise some of the most vulnerable in our society. It must stop, and it must stop now.

“It is clear that public opinion on this issue is changing. This bill has cross-party support, including from some in the Conservative Party, and backing from organisations across the UK. 

“On the 50th Anniversary of the Misuse of Drugs Act, I am urging the UK government to heed our calls and take seriously our proposals to legalise drug consumption rooms and decriminalise drug use.” 

The text of the Bill can be found here:

14 thoughts on “Renewed calls for drug consumption rooms.

  1. I get the impression that there is a fair consensus amongst the general, non-dug-addicted public that such places are desirable, in both protecting the general public against carelessly discarded needles and also in enabling drug-users to be in continuous contact with support services to optimise the chances of them becoming ‘clean.’

    I think the opposition is from within a very conservative (small ‘c’) section of the community, who also have a condemnatory moralistic attitude. I think, too, that their views are disproportionately represented by the media.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. While the unionist opposition in Holyrood were wetting themselves over the stats that Scotland had the highest drug deaths in the known universe , and were calling for the SG to do something about it , NOT ONE of them accepted that ‘safe consumption rooms ‘ were a step forward but were PREVENTED by the UK unionist Government .
    As Sarwar and Rennie wrung their hands like latter day Uriah Heeps and whined their patently false concerns at the drug deaths , neither of them admitted the blame that lay with successive Westminster administrations ( Tory and LabTory ) who had created the conditions in which so many in our poorer communities had been ground down by poverty and lack of HOPE .
    Millionaire Sarwar and perennial political scrounger Rennie have NO concept of the misery their parties have inflicted for generations on communities ( and not just in Scotland ).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The death penalty in the USA did not reduce murders and other violent crimes,in fact the opposite happened.
    These sort of measures adopted by politicians pandering to the simplistic views held by the political right may appeal to the likes of the KKK or it’s equivalent in England,the Brexiteers,but for most reasonable people it is clear that these sort of policies simply don’t work.
    Addiction is a health issue not a criminal one.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Social stigma is a significant contributing factor supporting a simplistic and judgemental approach to tackling the drugs problem. Unfortunately, we’re just not going to be effective in dealing with the problem, while it is viewed as a crime and punishment matter, rather than a health and equity issue.

    Challenges and opportunities in examining and addressing intersectional stigma and health


  5. O/T I see BBC Scotland is returning to one of its recurring topics today, the issue of contaminated water and infections on children’s wards at the (new) South Glasgow Hospital (aka the Southern General). The newsworthiness of the trigger for the BBC returning to the topic seems, candidly, pretty ‘thin’ but then when did that matter to the public service broadcaster in Scotland and it headline writers?

    So to the trigger for today’s news item, the Scotland section of the BBC News website reports Anas Sarwar’s latest comments in Holyrood on the issue. It is remarkable how the BBC have chosen to frame Mr Sarwar’s new ‘big reveal’. Will Reporting Scotland be able to resist?


    On the website we learn: “… relatives of another affected child have not yet been told”. This relates to Mr Sarwar stating that one family may not have been told that their child had been affected by the infection at the Glasgow hospital. He said it was feared it could be the family of one of the two children who died.

    But this is terrible – the BBC is right to amplify Mr Sarwar’s exposure of this unconscionable lack of concern, candour and transparency. It justifies the BBC headline – ‘Hospital child deaths “biggest scandal of devolution era’’.’ Surely?

    Well maybe not as bad as being portrayed! After the BBC article’s front-end loading with pejoratives – ‘scandal’, not informed, ‘inexplicable’ fight for truth/justice, it eventually provides a bit of perspective (too late?). All but one of the families of the 84 children affected in some way have already been informed but it has NOT been possible to date to make contact with ONE family despite ‘rigorous’ attempts to do so. So ’not yet been told’ really means ’not been possible to make contact in order to be told’! The intended ‘message’ is in the drafting!

    The irony here is that based on track record, one presumes Mr Sarwar’s and BBC Scotland’s researchers will have been trying very hard to contact this family too!

    Mr Sarwar adds that “… inexplicably there are still families fighting for the truth and for justice”. The FM reminded him that a full independent inquiry has already been commissioned into the “incredibly serious matter” of the water-borne infections at the Glasgow hospital campus. Does Mr Sarwar not want the inquiry, not trust the inquiry, is not accepting its findings before it has even begun – or did this slip his mind?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The SNP have allocated £250million to drug/drink issues. They need proper total abstinence rehab facilities. Getting people healthy should be kept under the SNHS so Drs can refer people. Council put people on methadone for years. People take other substances and die. Spending £Millions saves £Billions in Police, prison, fire and social care. Prison costs £40,000 a year. For everyone who gets healthy, nine others benefit. MUP has reduced consumption and saved lives.


    1. ‘Councils put people on methadone for years’. Yep correct! BritNat councils, Labour, also at the helm for ten years at Holyrood, did sweet FA for the people of Scotland, especially the vulnerable and poor. Labour branch in Scotland kept people poor, terrible housing,no prospects, no opportunities to get on even the first rung of the ladder, despicable.
      Question is, who is at the top of the illegal drugs industry, how and where are drugs imported, who should be keeping drugs out or even trying to?
      Policing of Scottish waters and ports is a reserved power to Westminster, seems that’s not a priority. Tory plans for ‘freeports’ are a recipe for disaster. Who will the winners be there, I think we all know the answer to that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. IMHO, though fixing the drugs problem is vital to law and order, it’s more helpful to view addiction through a public health, rather than a public order lens. The propensity to addiction has many drivers that exhibit distinct gendered pathways. So the drive to do away with a legal respect for biological sex differences, is simply not helpful in the slightest to the war against drug addiction.

    Explicating the role of empathic processes in substance use disorders: a conceptual framework and research agenda


  8. O/T The Scotland section of BBC News website has published today more than 20 pictures relating to the current visit to Scotland of the younger royals, William and his wife.


    So what? It’s at least mildly interesting that no Union flags are shown being waved – indeed I didn’t spot even one Union flag in any shot. Deliberate decision by the photo editor or having to make do with reality?

    Also, most are ‘tight’ shots: no crowds being shown!


  9. More on royal William from C4 News this evening, including these tweets:

    ‘Krishnan Guru-Murthy @krishgm
    Tonight : Gordon Brown, who’s just launched a campaign to save the Union, just had unpublicised meeting with Prince William. Only politician save @NicolaSturgeon met on Royal visit to Scotland. So sensitive #C4News prevented from airing footage shot from outside palace gates!’

    ‘Krishnan Guru-Murthy @krishgm
    Kensington Palace have said we were stopped from airing the footage we filmed of Mr Brown in the grounds of Holyrood Palace – not because of sensitivities – but because they claim #C4News was trespassing. Our team were in public place outside gates.’


    And just to confirm, as reported in the P&J on 10 May and in other places, Mr Brown is now in campaigning mode on constitutional matters and against the policies of a majority of MSPs in the Holyrood parliament. The P&J told us: ‘The former Labour prime minister said he could not simply “remain silent” in the wake of the Holyrood election result and a fresh row about a second independence referendum, as he revealed his Our Scottish Future think-tank would become a campaign movement from now on.’

    Such activities by royal William and his family may have negative consequences for the resilience of two unions, including the only one – the older one – with which he should be concerned directly.


  10. I wonder what it is that makes the so-called Our Scottish Future think-tank, think that advocating for Scotland’s legal subourdination by England, is either practically helpful or relevant to the future health of Scottish culture and society? Well actually, I think I’ve a good idea but it takes a while to explain. 🙂

    What are the Links Between Theory of
    Mind and Social Relations? Review,
    Reflections and New Directions for Studies
    of Typical and Atypical Development


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