Activist countries

Drug consumption rooms are ‘pretty normal’ in other countries, says Labor MP Paul Sweeney

A LABOR MSP campaigning for safe drug consumption rooms to be legalized in Scotland has said facilities are “pretty normal” in other parts of the world.

Speaking to Times Radio on Saturday morning, Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney said drug parlors were present in around 150 locations around the world, including New York.

He said: “It certainly sounds like a radical idea, but it’s actually pretty normal in over 150 locations around the world, including most recently in New York, where they successfully tested the pilot.

“In fact, we accept that injecting drug use occurs in cities across Britain, particularly in Glasgow, where we have a significant business in Glasgow city center and 500 injecting drug users over a regular basis.”

READ MORE: ‘I had tears in my eyes’: Peter Krykant on Scotland’s new drug rules

Sweeney said the introduction of the facilities would help prevent drug-related deaths.

He added: ‘By introducing controls, hygienic spaces that people can attend, we are not only preventing drug-related deaths, but helping to address the fact that one person dies every six hours in Scotland on average. , of preventable drug-related death, we can also affect the way drugs are taken so that they are administered in a more hygienic and safer way, and therefore reduce much of the cost associated with injecting the veins.

Sweeney’s proposed bill would also abolish Scotland’s current Drug Death Task Force, with Mr Sweeney insisting the organization ‘no longer has the trust of the public or those working in the sector “.

He argued that prohibition “rarely works”, adding: “I think it’s about accepting that drug use has been happening since humans have existed.

%image(‘13827870’, type=”article-full”, alt=”Scottish Labor MSP Paul Sweeney has launched a bill to legalize safe drinking rooms (Nick Ansell/PA)”)

“Prohibition very rarely works like we saw, you know, 100 years ago in America. So thus accepting that drug possession is very likely to take place, they are not really criminals.

The MSP said drug addiction should instead be treated as a public health problem. He added: ‘It’s actually more of an addictive disease. We should be treating it as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, which is an incredible waste.

“So by really treating the problem on the ground as a public health problem, you are then able to avoid this horrible death rate that Britain has – especially in Scotland where it is more than 1 higher. 000% to EU average.

“We are also able to tackle some of the major effects on the cost of the NHS and for society, trying to stabilize people’s lives and trying to avoid the debris of drugs scattered on the streets of the city. ”

Sweeney argued that there had been some opposition from Home Office drinking rooms and claimed that the UK government opposed it. There has been cross-party political consensus on the issue in Glasgow, and the city has wanted safe consumption rooms since 2016, he added.

The Labor member, who was elected in 2021 after a spell of unemployment following the 2019 general election where Mr Sweeney lost his seat from Glasgow North East to Westminster, also revealed he had volunteered with the safe drinking van of activist Peter Krykant who traveled through Glasgow city center to encourage drug addicts to inject in a safe place.

READ MORE: Scottish, UK and London Labor fight Civil War over drugs policy

Sweeney said the police officers on the ground were “supportive” of Mr Krykant’s work.

He added: “The sky didn’t collapse and people weren’t arrested and arrested because of it.

“In fact, the police were quite united on the ground. They have actually recognized its effectiveness. And they were indeed bringing in, you know, drug debris and fighting in the streets to dispose of it hygienically.

“They even informally ordered people who were injecting on the street to go to a safe establishment, because at least they could inject in a more hygienic environment.”