Critics say the idea of allowing addicts to inject themselves in official drug rooms is “liberal claptrap”, and could lead to police-approved ‘drug dens’.
It follows news last week that Brighton could become the first city in the UK to allow heroin and crack cocaine addicts to use officially-sanctioned “drug consumption rooms”.
Peter Hitchens described the idea as “stupid” and a drugs misuse expert warned it could “deliver a massive headache for the police and the courts”.
Melanie Phillips said that such drug rooms “risk turning whole areas into drug hot-spots”, and institutionalise hard drug use.
She also cautioned that one of the men behind the idea, Mike Trace, is a “notorious” individual who resigned from a UN drugs role after he was revealed to be involved in pressurising Governments to legalise drugs.
The columnist criticised the BBC for giving such people as Mr Trace a “hefty boost” in its coverage of the issue on Radio 4’s Today programme.
Writing in The Sunday Times, under the headline “Get Brighton to A&E – it’s overdosing on liberal claptrap”, Rod Liddle also criticised the idea.
He said despite evidence suggesting such drug rooms do not work, Brighton “will stride forward into its own never-never land”.
Peter Hitchens, in his Mail on Sunday column, warned: “The British liberal establishment have decided to surrender to the powerful and well-funded lobby that wants to ‘decriminalise’ drugs.”
He cautioned that unless such a process was stopped, “you may wake up one day soon and find a building near you is being openly used by junkies to inject themselves, with police approval”.
In a letter to The Independent, Professor Neil McKeganey, the Director of the Centre for Drug Misuse Research in Glasgow, raised potential problems with the idea.
He said the Government would need to give the council an exemption from the Misuse of Drugs Act.
He commented: “A drug user arrested for possession of heroin anywhere within Brighton and Hove could simply claim that they were en route to the consumption room”.
The idea could “deliver a massive headache for the police and the courts”, Prof McKeganey said.