The case for a drug consumption room in Glasgow is ‘more compelling’ after a study by Glasgow Caledonian, despite Westminster’s resistance.
Researchers at the university have been studying the recent HIV outbreak, the largest in 30 years in Britain. They found Glasgow had the strongest evidence towards a drug consumption room, even compared to those in Canada, Australia and Europe.
If created, the facility would be the first of its kind in the UK.
This is because Glasgow experiences the highest HIV outbreak since the 1980’s as well as the high number of drug deaths, the outbreak of anthrax and the largest case of botulism in Europe in the past five years.
The common denominator in all of these cases is that they were prevalent in people who consume drugs, meaning a drug consumption room could tackle a myriad of issues.
Currently in Glasgow needle exchange services have proved the most effective in ensuring clean equipment is accessed by individuals, lessening the further spread of the HIV virus.
A mobile needle exchange van was introduced in the wake of the service at Central Station closing down late last year. Central Station saw 1,000 needles provided per month, highlighting the demand for such a service.
Researcher Dr. Andrew McAuley believes there has been a change in culture around addiction, but with heath board budget cuts, long term solutions need to be put in place.
For those living with HIV it would cost the health board £200,000 to treat them for a lifetime, emphasizing the need for permanent evidence-based solutions within the community to ensure the virus does not spread.
However, if Westminster do not change their mind toward the facilities, Dr. McAuley believes this service will not be piloted in the next few years.