Home Secretary putting politics ‘ahead of peoples lives’, SNP MP claims

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been accused of putting “party political dogma ahead of people’s lives” with his refusal to allow a safe injecting room to be set up in Scotland’s largest city.

Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewlis begged the Tory Government minister to come to the city and speak to addicts who could be helped by such a centre.

There is cross party support for a centre where addicts can use drugs in a supervised environment to be set up in Glasgow, after 280 of the 934 drugs related deaths in Scotland were recorded in the area in 2017.

But the Home Office, which is in charge of drugs legislation for the UK, has so far refused to grant permission.

Delegates at the SNP annual conference overwhelming backed a motion saying the UK Government should do this, or devolve the necessary powers to Holyrood to do so.

Ms Thewliss told them: “We have a problem here and we have a solution and the Home Secretary will not let us act to save the lives of vulnerable drug users.

“It’s an absolute disgrace, it is despicable to put party political dogma ahead of people’s lives.”

She insisted a safe drugs consumption centre “will not be a shooting gallery as some have suggested” but could instead allow addicts to “get them the help they very much need”.

The lack of such a centre leaves addicts having to take drugs in back lanes, derelict buildings, public toilets and bin sheds, Ms Thewliss said.

She stated: “Glasgow already has drug consumption rooms, they’re in back lanes in the city centre,  they’re in abandoned waste ground, in dangerous, derelict buildings and in bushes and boardings near to my constituency office.

“And in weather like this, when its tipping down outside, they are in filthy bin sheds and residential closes. They are in public toilets and in any space where people desperate for a fix can find that tiny bit of privacy.

“People do this regularly and they take risks every time they do so, of infection, overdoes and death. This is not acceptable in the Scotland we wish to see, we can and we must do better.

“Join us in our calls to the UK Government, beg of the Home Secretary to come here, to listen to the people of Glasgow, to listen to the people who need this facility desperately.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “There is no legal framework for the provision of drug consumption rooms in the UK and we have no plans to introduce them.

“The UK’s approach on drugs remains clear – we must prevent drug use in our communities and support people dependent on drugs through treatment and recovery.

“Our Drug Strategy sets out a balanced approach which brings together police, health, community and global partners to tackle the illicit drug trade, protect the most vulnerable and help those with a drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around.”

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