A REPORT has praised plans for a “shooting gallery” for drug users in Glasgow as new figures showed a huge rise in discarded needles across the city.

Call-outs to the council for the removal of drug-related litter, mainly syringes and hypodermic needles, soared by 68 per cent in the year to 2017.

Think-tank Volteface claimed the figures in its report Back Yard were evidence of a rise in street injecting, and along with a rise in HIV transmission rates, added urgency to the need for a drug-consumption room.

But the report comes after Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC seemingly blocked plans for the safer drug consumption facility by refusing to rule out prosecuting people for possession of narcotics on their way to or from the centre.

However, Back Yard, which was commissioned by Westminster’s Drugs, Alcohol and Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group, says Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership should press ahead with the project, and calls on other UK authorities to follow suit.

The report says drug-related deaths and drug-related litter have risen to unprecedented levels in the UK and concludes drug consumption rooms are a viable policy alternative, which could address these harms.

Report author Liz McCulloch, of Volteface, said: “Robust evidence demonstrates drug consumption rooms are effective in reducing street injecting, the number of syringes discarded in a vicinity, drug-related deaths and needle sharing. They also increase uptake in drug treatment.  “Evidence shows that drug consumption rooms do not increase drug use, frequency of injecting, drug dealing, drug trafficking or drug-related  crime in the surrounding environment.” 

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has backed the report. 

She said: “Evidence from safe injecting facilities in other countries demonstrates they reduce levels of drug addiction, as well as improving public safety through reducing the level of discarded needles and other related items in the streets.”