A UK Government minister has highlighted the “serious perils” of drug consumption rooms amid pressure to introduce them in Scotland.
Kit Malthouse, Minister of State for Crime and Policing, warned that consumption rooms were likely to increase crime and that staff could be held liable if an addict died of an overdose.
He stated: “Put simply, we are not prepared to condone drug-taking. These illicit substances are poisons which destroy lives and wreck communities. I know we can achieve much more by doubling down on assertive health intervention coupled with strong law enforcement.”
The Minister said that the focus must be on “three key priorities: breaking drug supply chains; delivering a world-class treatment and recovery system; and achieving a generational shift in the demand for drugs”.
He explained: “We must remain determined to deliver real and lasting change, not implicitly condone the taking of illegal and harmful substances. We will throw everything we have at the criminal gangs that profit from the harm and tragedy they cause.
we are not prepared to condone drug-taking
“Home nations must stand together if we are to save lives and rescue the young from the pernicious grip of drugs.”
Over 1,300 people died of drug misuse in Scotland in 2020, more than three-and-a-half times the number in England and Wales.
In October 2021, Westminster rejected an attempt by Bristol City Council to open places for addicts to take drugs without risk of prosecution.
Following a local report recommending the strategy, council leaders indicated to the Government they would be “interested in piloting an approach” to drugs involving opening consumption rooms.
But Ministers objected to the proposed citywide scheme, and refused to lift the current ban on so-called ‘shooting galleries’ in the UK.