MSPs support Scottish Government’s pursuit of drug consumption facility

MSPs have voted to call on the UK government to allow Drug Consumption Facilities in Scotland.

Arguing for a Safer Drug Consumption Facility (SDCF) to be set up in Glasgow, Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell MSP, said it would save lives.

SDCF’s – sometimes known as medically supervised injecting facilities or safer consumption facilities – primarily aim to reduce the acute risks of disease transmission through unhygienic injecting, prevent drug-related overdose deaths and connect high-risk drug users with addiction treatment and other health and social services.

They also seek to contribute to a reduction in drug use in public places and the presence of discarded needles and other related public order problems linked with open drug scenes.

SDF has produced a helpful briefing on Drug Consumption Facilities, which can be found here.

Although there is consensus from Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to pursue the proposal, the political powers to introduce such a facility ultimately lie with Westminster.

Holyrood held a debate on the matter on the 20th of April, which saw a majority of MSPs back a Scottish Government motion calling for Westminster to “make the necessary changes to allow the introduction of a facility in Glasgow”.

MSPs voted by 79 to 27 with one abstention to back the Scottish Government motion asking the UK government to introduce the change.

However, there were calls from each of the supporting parties that the Scottish Government not turn the issues into a “political football” with Westminster.

Ms Campbell stated that “[The Scottish Government] want to respond to a public health challenge with a public health solution – this issue is too important to be a party political dogfight”

Ms Cambell is due to raise the issue in a meeting with Home Office minister Victoria Atkins next month.

Click here to watch a video of the debate.