Wait, what? UK sets up official consumption rooms to 'help' users take illegal drugs like cocaine
Will a country allow drug addicts to 'officially' consume heroin and cocaine in rooms created by the government? Britain just did that, in a move to address drug-related deaths. UK authorities have cleared the way for erecting official consumption rooms for illegal drugs in a move aimed at "tackling the drug crisis."
This is a pilot scheme backed by the Scottish government. The first such room has appeared in the east end of Glasgow, where users can take drugs under the supervision of medical experts.
The plan was given an official nod on Wednesday (Sep 27) by Glasgow's Integration Joint Board.
Users won't be prosecuted
The project was in the pipeline for years but greenlit now after special law arrangements were made to exempt users from legal action for consuming illegal drugs in these rooms.
According to a report by BBC, users will be able to inject drugs at the Glasgow facility, but a different proposal which would have allowed users to smoke illegal substances was struck down.
Dr Saket Priyadarshi, associate medical director of Glasgow alcohol and drug recovery services, was quoted by BBC as saying that she hopes to add those proposals as well in due course as "we move forward."
She also believes that the "project would reduce drug-related harms for individuals and provide them with opportunities for treatment, care and recovery".
Why official drug consumption rooms have been established in UK
The establishment of the consumption rooms is a key component of broader efforts undertaken by the Scottish government to address a crisis that has resulted in a higher per capita rate of fatalities than any other European region.
In 2020, the number of drug-related deaths reached a peak at 1,339.
There was a slight decline in 2021, followed by a significant drop of approximately 20 per cent in 2022, reducing the figure to 1,051.
However, recent preliminary data suggests a potential resurgence in these numbers.
The initiative to create a consumption room enjoys support from members of the Scottish National Party, Labour, and Liberal Democrat politicians.
Nevertheless, the UK Home Office maintains its stance that there is no safe way to consume illegal drugs.
Users hail the project
As weird as the idea of this programme may sound, for drug users in the Glasgow area, the initiative is simply "brilliant".
Jade, 33, a drug user in the east end was quoted by BBC as saying that it was a "brilliant idea" which would "make a massive, massive difference".
"My ex-partner died of drugs. My dad died. He was an addict. My sister passed away. A lot of my friends have passed away," she added.