Glasgow gives green light to UK's first drug consumption room
A Scottish city will become home to the UK's first safer drug consumption room after council bosses approved the plan.
It is hoped the £2.3m facility in Glasgow will reduce the harm caused by injection drugs and save lives.
The centre will be sited in the east end of the city in a building which also houses a heroin assisted treatment service.
Users of the facility will be under medical supervision and do not risk criminal prosecution under the pilot project.
The UK Government, which retains authority over drug laws, has said it will not block the initiative.
Scotland's drugs death rate is the highest in Europe and up to 500 people are estimated to inject drugs in public places in Glasgow.
The new site at Hunter Street will provide a private space and open year-round from 9am-9pm. It has been mooted since 2016, winning cross-party support in that time.
It will now go ahead after Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC said she would not prosecute people found in possession of controlled substances at the site.
The Scottish Government is to provide the funding for its first year of operation from April 2024, with associated building costs met by Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane said his party has "serious reservations" about the effectiveness of drug consumption rooms and called on the SNP-Green government to back the Right to Recovery Bill which would "enshrine in law a right to access treatment for those who are struggling most with drug addiction" and "has the potential to be a game-changer in reducing the number of drug deaths in Scotland".