UK opens its first ‘supervised consumption room’ for medicines

The venue, launched in Glasgow, seeks to encourage addicts to consume drugs in controlled, hygienic locations, instead of risking consumption in unsafe environments.

In a more palliative approach to the fight against addictions, The UK opened its first supervised drug consumption facility on Wednesday . Opened in the city of Glasgow under the backing of the NHS, the United Kingdom’s public health system, the place will improve the situation of people already heavily dependent on hard drugs.

In the room, people who frequently use drugs will be able to count on a clean and hygienic environment and the support of trained staff. This, designed for people who are already dependent and addicted, especially with regard to heroin and intravenous drug use.

The facility, which has already opened, was approved earlier this month when the monarch’s lawyer, Dorothy Bain, assured that it was not “the public interest in prosecuting users for small possession offenses committed in an establishment intended for safer drug use. »

Drug paraphernalia dumped in Glasgow city centre. Photo: AFP.

Dr Saket Priyadarshi, from Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services, said the facility would reduce harm linked to drug use, while providing opportunities for treatment, care and recovery. “There is a large scientific evidence base for this type of service, with over 100 rooms worldwide” assured the doctor.

After reviewing international experiences on the subject, Priyadarshi assured: “The benefits of these services are primarily for the individual using them, in the sense that it reduces harm and promotes treatment opportunities.

In 2016, in a context of an explosion in HIV infections, the installation of this type of establishment in Glasgow was proposed for the first time. In this time, Between 400 and 500 people were recorded injecting themselves in the city center alone.

Overdose death rates in Scotland are 2.7 times higher than the rest of the UK, despite a 21% drop in such deaths over the last year. The most recent figures published by the National Register of Scotland show that in 2022, 1,051 people died from drug addiction.

Concerned that these types of places would attract drug dealers, given that there would be users who would not be punished for taking drugs in the corridors, Susanne Miller, of the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Association, said told the Herald that, according to the international organization’s evidence, This did not happen in previous experiments. Regardless, he assured he was working closely with Police Scotland to prevent this from happening.

“In fact, the type of patients we target are people who are not necessarily planning their addiction, but rather people who, by definition, consumed in places with a wide range of associated dangers, public places, parking lots, streets, not people who are going to travel to do their drugs,” Miller said.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Surgeon has announced that firefighters will be trained to administer kits of naxolone, a substance that reverses the effects of overdoses of heroin and other opioids. Photo: AFP.

With this step, the map of consumption rooms in Europe continues to expand. The first hall was created in 1986 in Bern and, in 2018, in Spain there were 13 in seven cities with these halls. Portugal, which decriminalized the consumption, acquisition and use of drugs in 2001 also created “narcosalas” in Lisbon.

In an interview with Vice, Santos Arrieta Galey, coordinator of Médicos del Mundo Euskadi, commented on the reasons for these rooms, which are also in Bilbao: “The people who come are safer. They know that when they are going to consume in cases like injection, They benefit from support when they are advised to do it on other parts of the body to avoid further damage.

Considering that currently one of the main modes of transmission of HIV is the sharing of syringes , these consumption rooms are also designed to be a response to such an epidemic. In Latin America, the only supervised consumption center is located in Mexicali, Mexico, on the border with the United States.

Source: Latercera

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.