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22 April 2020
Safe drug consumption rooms supported by 75 per cent of Scots who inject drugs

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Safe drug consumption rooms supported by 75 per cent of Scots who inject drugs

Three quarters of people who inject drugs (PWID) in Scotland are willing to use Drug Consumption Rooms (DCRs), new research from Glasgow Caledonian University has revealed.

The study to determine the willingness of people who inject drugs to use DCRs, published in The International Journal of Drug Policy on Wednesday, found 75 per cent of PWID in Scotland were willing to use the rooms.

The research is the first of its kind in Scotland, with researchers interviewing 1,469 people. It adds further weight to the argument that DCRs could have a big impact on Scotland’s drugs crisis.

“Our findings suggest that this intervention has the potential to reach those most at risk of death and disease, which adds to existing evidence of the important role that drug consumption rooms could have in addressing the country’s drugs crisis,” lead researcher Kirsten Trayner said.

Further, it found 83 per cent of PWID and live in Glasgow and other Scottish city centres were willing to use DCRs, “which is an important result, as DCRs are normally established in cities, close to open drug markets that are experiencing issues with public drug use”, the research said.

Outside city centres, willingness to use the rooms was still high, at 72 per cent.

Among those most at risk of contracting HIV, homelessness, and other issues related to public injecting, there was a high willingness to use the rooms – 79 to 87 per cent nationally.

“Our results indicate that if DCR were piloted in Glasgow as proposed, or elsewhere in Scotland, it would likely attract PWID with the greatest risk of drug-related harm,” the study said.

The research concluded: “The vast majority of people who inject drugs at greatest risk of drug-related harm in Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland would be willing to use a DCR, supporting proposals for the introduction of DCRs nationally.”

Trayner said the study showed the DCR intervention would attract those most at risk of different drug-related harms, particularly HIV and overdose, and that the rooms had the “potential to make a big impact in areas where they are introduced”.

“The case for drug consumption rooms on the impact they can have on drug-related harms alone is compelling. However, other research has shown that the voices of people who use drugs has been missing from the debate until now,” she said.

“We hope that this research contributes to the ongoing debate for the need for drug consumption rooms in Scotland, particularly in Glasgow.”

The Scottish Government and local authorities are supportive of DCR proposals, however the UK Government reiterated its objection to the rooms at the UK Drug Deaths summit held in Glasgow in February.

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