The Scottish Government has rejected calls to introduce officially-sanctioned rooms where drug addicts can inject themselves.
Senior doctors from a Government advisory body had recommended that ‘drug consumption rooms’ be made available, claiming this would prevent drug deaths.
But a Scottish Government spokesman said it “has no plans to introduce drug consumption rooms due to the ethical and legal issues raised by such proposals”.
Dr Roy Robertson and Dr Saket Priyadarshi made the recommendation in a National Forum on Drug-Related Deaths report.
They claimed there was “considerable potential to reduce the number of drug-related deaths by undertaking targeted harm reduction measures”.
More should be done to engage older drug users, they argued, through “heroin-assisted treatment and drug consumption rooms”.
Dr Robertson and Dr Priyadarshi recommended that the multi-agency teams which deal with addicts should assess whether interventions such as ‘safe rooms’ are appropriate.
But Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute said: “These heroin shooting galleries would ultimately lead to more deaths, not fewer. They promote the idea that people should stay on drugs. But drugs are illegal because they are dangerous. You can’t do an unsafe thing in a safe way.”
And Professor Neil McKeganey of the Centre for Drug Misuse Research in Glasgow said: “It is absolutely essential that individuals are discouraged from injecting drug use. Services to enable and assist injecting drug use run a very real risk of compounding harm not reducing harm.
“Only by reducing the incidence of drug addiction in Scotland will we see a reduction in deaths. Prevention needs to become the number one priority of policy and provision in Scotland rather than harm reduction”, he added.
Mike Barton, Durham Chief Constable, came under fire in February after he called for heroin addicts to be handed free drugs by the state.
Speaking on a local news programme, he travelled to Denmark and looked at ‘drug consumption rooms’ where users are provided with equipment to take drugs.
Mary Brett, from Cannabis Skunk Sense, said that if police gave away heroin there would be huge problems with addicts harming communities while they wait for their next fix.
She said the criminals who currently profit from drugs would simply switch to other illegal ways of making money.