Home > Time for safer injecting spaces in Britain?

Drug and Alcohol Findings. (2020) Time for safer injecting spaces in Britain? Drug and Alcohol Findings Hot Topic,

External website: https://findings.org.uk/PHP/dl.php?file=rooms.hot&...

Drug consumption rooms provide hygienic and supervised spaces for people to inject or otherwise consume illicit drugs. When counted at the end of 2018, there were 117 sanctioned drug consumption rooms in 11 countries around the world, generating an evidence base of ‘real world’ trials for scrutinising their biggest appeals and detractors’ greatest fears. Evidence of their effectiveness is one motivation for introducing drug consumption rooms; another is that they provide a common sense solution to the suffering and risks associated with public injecting.


The Scottish Government has recognised mounting harms to the health, wellbeing, and dignity of people who use drugs, and supports trialling drug consumption rooms as part of an approach to substance use based on public health objectives and human rights principles. However, the UK Government based in Westminster (London) has repeatedly blocked any such action. This stalemate provides the backdrop for a hot topic exploring the following questions: • In communities dealing with the consequences of public injecting, could drug consumption rooms be part of the solution? • Knowing the human cost of unsafe public injecting practices, would it be negligent for governments not to consider them at this point?


Step-by-step through some of the key issues

This in-depth hot topic is presented under the following headings:

  1. The mounting harms of public injecting
  2. What happens inside a drug consumption room?
  3. Determining whether they produce sufficient benefits (with no countervailing problems)
  4. Evidence ‘just one ingredient in the policymaking process’
  5. The ‘legal hurdles’
  6. Acceptance is at the root of benefits and criticisms
  7. Reframing drug consumption rooms and the people who use them
  8. Time for safer injecting spaces in Britain?
  9. Concluding thoughts

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