Members of parliament from across the political spectrum have called on the UK government to allow the introduction of drug consumption rooms (DCRs), which save lives and reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

On January 17, at a Westminster Hall debate convened by MP Ronnie Cowan, a host of legislators made impassioned statements in favour of drug consumption rooms – facilities in which people can use illegal drugs in a safe environment, without risking prosecution, and in the presence of trained medical professionals. DCRs have been endorsed by the British Medical Association.

Cowan, of the Scottish National Party, initiated the debate by describing the urgent need for DCRs.

“Drug deaths due to overdose are increasing year on year in the United Kingdom. People have been taking drugs of various types for thousands of years. In the last 100 years or so, we have run a campaign to criminalise and persecute people who take certain categories of drugs”, he described, “Drug consumption rooms are part of the solution. [...] Those facilities aim primarily to reduce the acute risk of disease transmission through unhygienic injecting, prevent drug-related overdose deaths and connect high-risk drug users with addiction treatment and other health and social services.”

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Thumbnail: CC Joe Mabel