UK Govt rebuffs latest call to decriminalise drugs in Scotland

The UK Government has once again rejected a call to decriminalise drug possession and expand so-called shooting galleries in Scotland.

Professor Angela Thomas, Acting President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said it favoured the “introduction of a drugs consumption room, and a heroin-assisted treatment programme in all major centres in Scotland”.

But Kit Malthouse, Minister for Crime and Policing, restated the UK Government’s position that this “would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade”.

Set to fail

Malthouse made clear that decriminalisation or the introduction of drug rooms would fail to address “the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families and communities”.

He explained that, while the Government was “committed to working with the devolved administration in Scotland to tackle drug misuse”, it had no plans to decriminalise drug possession.

Last year, in a letter to the Scottish Affairs Committee, the Minister warned that if drug consumption rooms were legalised operators still faced “being sued for damages in negligence” if things were to “go wrong”.

Over 1,260 people died of drug misuse in Scotland in 2019, the highest number since records began – and a new record for the sixth year in a row.

Also see:


Hospital admissions from drug use reach record high in Scotland

Drug-driving could soon exceed drink-driving in Scotland

Home Office rejects latest call to decriminalise illegal drugs in Scotland