Scots drug scheme peddles ‘free heroin’ and overdoses

Addicts have been overdosing on ‘free heroin’ supplied by NHS Scotland as part of a harm reduction scheme.

Since 2019, Glasgow’s Enhanced Drug Treatment Service (EDTS) – funded by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Trust (NHS GGC)  – has recorded 26 overdoses among its 24 clients.

Last year, a Scottish Government quango claimed that the introduction of heroin ‘shooting galleries’, which allow drug addicts to take drugs without fear of arrest, is key to bringing down deaths.


The NHS Trust said that it had spent almost four million pounds on the scheme from start-up to December 2022, at a cost of around £165,000 per person.

Annemarie Ward of drugs charity FAVOR UK told the Scottish Daily Mail: “These are grim revelations and they show spending on ‘heroin-assisted treatment’ is many times more expensive than rehab”.

She asked: “To what extent can it be said to be working when there are so many overdoses, and the cost is so high? We’re just endlessly giving people more drugs – rather than helping them to stop.”

In response, NHS GCC stated that there had been “less [sic] than five adverse events on site” since the EDTS launched three years ago, and no deaths.


In its report ‘Changing Lives’, the Scottish Drug Death Taskforce recommended that ‘supervised drug consumption facilities’ (SDFCs) be rolled out nationwide.

The report said that introducing SDCFs in Scotland “would provide a supervised space for people who use drugs to take them safely” and proposed “enabling the provision of drug paraphernalia” through “harm-reduction” services.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) figures show that there were 1,330 drug-related deaths in 2021 — the second highest annual total on record, and the worst in Europe.

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