DRUG workers in Glasgow travelled to Dublin to find out about Irish plans for supervised injecting rooms.

A team from Turning Point Scotland (TPS) visited the city last month following moves by the Irish Government to introduce laws which would allow medically supervised injecting centres to be set up.

It means addicts injecting heroin and other illegal substances would do so in a safe medical environment where the risk to themselves and the public is significantly reduced.

Following the trip, the Glasgow-based charity is now urging Scots to start debating the pros and cons of supervised injecting, which is illegal in Scotland.

Alan Howard, business development manager, at TPS, who was on the Dublin visit, said it could happen in Scotland's future.

He said: “We’re looking at the question: is this something that actually would be of interest in people in communities, councils and Government in Scotland?

“We’re realistic, you’re never going to convince everybody but there is a really strong evidence base.

“That’s what’s pushing us to look at it and prompt the debate.

“We’ve seen how it’s worked in other places. There’s definitely the potential for it to work in the Scottish context.”

The team said Dublin had similarities with Glasgow because injecting in public places was common in both.

As the Evening Times has reported, concerns have been raised over people using drugs openly in Glasgow.

In May last year residents in Calton said they were finding several used syringes every day.

It came after we told how 43 syringes were found in a public toilet block near to the Barrowlands in just 11 days.

Wendy Spencer, director of operations at TPS, said the team recognised the problem in Glasgow and wanted to look at ways to tackle it.

The Ana Liffey Drug Project, based in Dublin, hosted the trip, which was also attended by Welsh drugs workers.

Ms Spencer said: “We’re always interested in looking at different approaches to deal with what is a significant problem - public injecting in Glasgow.

“The overwhelming evidence is supervised injecting centres save lives, they benefit public health and the wider community and act as a bridge to detox and further treatment.

“So the evidence is overwhelming that they work.

“We felt that we wanted to go and visit our close neighbours to see how they went about it.

“We spent the afternoon touring the streets to get a sense of the problem. There were a lot of similarities between Dublin and Glasgow.”

There are about 92 injection centres across 61 cities across the world.

Evidence shows the projects save lives because the risk of contracting illnesses such as HIV or Botulism is reduced.

It can also act as a bridge to treatment, as well as benefitting communities who have concerns about public injecting and discarded paraphernalia.

Ms Spencer said: "It saves lives because people aren’t injecting in filthy conditions in secret. The risk to overdose is drastically reduced."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government has no plans to introduce drug consumption rooms.

"Aside from the ethical issues raised by such proposals, there are clear legal issues that cannot be resolved easily.

"However, as with all aspects of drugs policy, we continue to stay informed of international developments on the effectiveness and impact of approaches to tackling drug use.”