Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has once again expressed her frustration at the UK Government’s position on safe injecting facilities, following a request from the Scottish Government to devolve drug laws to Scotland.
A Safe Injecting Facility (SIF) had been approved in principle by Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership last year, and the idea had garnered consensus from a number of organisations including the Alcohol and Drug Partnership. The Home Office, which controls drug legislation, has however refused to back the plans, calling them illegal.
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“In refusing to give credence to proposals for a Safe Injecting Facility, the Home Office is perpetuating the status quo for drug users and the wider public.
“Drug use and its associated problems are a major public health concern deserving of a forward-thinking, creative solution. Proposals for an SIF are exactly that, and have been developed by those who deal with issues relating to drug misuse and drug litter on a daily basis. SIFs give those with an addiction a safer place to use drugs, where medical staff can intervene in an emergency and also look to offer support services.
“Evidence from safe injecting facilities in other countries demonstrates that they reduce levels of drug addiction, as well as improving public safety through reducing the level of discarded needles and other items of drug paraphernalia. In 2015, Glasgow saw a 35% increase in new diagnoses of HIV among people who inject drugs in the city centre. Clearly, these figures do not suggest an improving picture.
“Doing nothing gives little hope to those injecting on our streets and fails to reassure local communities that the UK Government is taking this issue seriously. I fully support the Scottish Government’s calls to have drugs law devolved. Failure to do so it seems will let down those who clearly need support”.