Glasgow 'shooting gallery' where addicts can inject gets approval

Drug ‘shooting gallery’ where addicts can inject drugs free from threat of prosecution gets go ahead for Glasgow

  • Councillors in Scotland’s biggest city gave the green light for facility which will be staffed by medical workers 
  • Users can bring their own heroin or cocaine to inject – but critics warn it will simply ‘boost’ to nation’s drugs problem

The first heroin ‘shooting gallery’ in the UK is to be launched in Scotland’s biggest city – at a cost of more than £2million a year.

Addicts in Glasgow will be able to inject heroin and cocaine in a hygienic environment with medical staff on hand, without the threat of prosecution for possession of Class A drugs.

First proposed in 2016 after an HIV outbreak in the city, the development of so-called safe consumption rooms has been embroiled in political wrangling between the Scottish and UK Governments.

Earlier this month, Scotland’s most senior law officer, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, KC, announced it would not be ‘in the public interest’ to prosecute people using such a facility – and the Home Office said it does not plan to interfere in the pilot.

Drug user prepares heroin before injecting

Inside the facility in Glasgow where addicts inject prescribed heroin


Scotland’s first addictions service treating patients with pharmaceutical grade heroin in Glasgow, the tray which is presented to the addict with the prescribed dose of heroin 


Police have texted thousands of people who may have been in contact with an alleged drug gang through so-called ‘drug-lines’ – offering them help to kick the habit.

It comes after six people appeared in court on September 7 accused of selling drugs from Glasgow addresses.

Saad Qayyum, 34, Ryan Carvill, 29, Ajaydeep Singh, 28, Jason Ahmed, 36, Muhammad Hanif, 53, and Kelly Lyon, 41, made no plea when they appeared in private at Glasgow Sheriff Court. They are due in court again at a later date.

Officers from Greater Glasgow’s Serious Organised Crime Unit said they seized mobile devices which contained thousands of phone numbers.

Police sent messages to the numbers, signposting agencies which offer support for drugs misuse. Detective Inspector Tom Carey said: ‘Police Scotland takes a public health-led approach to the harm of drugs and we want to make people aware support is available.’

The Scottish Government-funded project was approved in a virtual meeting yesterday.

It will open in Hunter Street in the East End of the city, in the same building as an NHS drug treatment facility where the worst addicts are injected with pharmaceutical-grade heroin.

But last night Dr Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Substance Use Research in Glasgow, said the scheme ‘betrays the failure to address a drug problem in Scotland that has been decades in the making’.

He added: ‘What Scotland should be doing is ensuring that all addicts have access to recovery services that can assist their journey away from drugs. 

The idea that we will tackle the problem of illegal drugs in Scotland by providing centres where these drugs can be used without fear of arrest is simply to provide one more boost to our nation’s drugs problem.

‘Providing centres across Scotland where people can inject drugs they have purchased illegally on the streets is no different to providing state-sponsored support to the trade in illegal drugs.’

There were 1,051 deaths from drugs misuse in Scotland in 2022, down 279 on the previous year – but the country remains Europe’s drug deaths capital.

Glasgow City Integration Joint Board, which involves NHS and council officials, approved the shooting gallery plan. 

As she moved approval of the pilot, board chairman Rona Sweeney told the meeting: ‘I’m sure we all wish our city didn’t need this facility, but the reality is that we do.’ 

 Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC 

The report states: ‘There is overwhelming international evidence which demonstrates that safer drug consumption facilities can improve the health, wellbeing and recovery of people who use the facility and reduce the negative impact that public injecting has on local communities and businesses.’

SNP councillor Allan Casey told the meeting: ‘This is the first consumption room in the UK and all eyes are going to be on Glasgow and we need to make sure we get it right.’

Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said his party ‘are happy for a variety of potential solutions to be looked at – including this pilot scheme – but we still have serious reservations about how effective drug consumption rooms will be in reality’.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told ITV: ‘My view is it’s the wrong policy and I don’t support the policy of drug consumption rooms. I don’t believe they deal with the root cause of addiction and drug dependency.’

At Holyrood, First Minister Humza Yousaf said he ‘very much welcomes’ the decision to approve the clinic.

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