THE UK Government has accepted the benefits of a safe drug injecting room for Glasgow - but is still refusing to give it the go ahead.

In a response to the city council the Home Office drugs and alcohol unit admits a safe drug consumption facility will have a public health benefit.

It states a UK Government report acknowledges evidence of addressing public nuisance with open drug taking and also that it reduces health risks for drug users.

Its own drug advisory council provided evidence that it reduces the risk of death from overdose and injecting risk behaviour.

It also accepts European studies that safe consumption facilities can reach and maintain contact with high risk drug users.

However, despite accepting there is merit in all the arguments the council has put forward for a safe drug consumption facility it said it will not allow it to go ahead.

The reply states: “However, the Government is not prepared to sanction or condone activities that support the organized trade that facilitates the availability of drugs and causes harm to individuals and communities.”

It says there are practical difficulties with consumption facilities and ethical issues for medical professionals.

Glasgow City Council is taking the response as a softening of the Home Office stance with the acknowledgement of the benefits and a positive basis for continuing dialogue and is confident it can address the concerns.

The safe drugs consumption facility would be located together with the Heroin Assisted Treatment centre which is able top go ahead and is planned for a site in Calton.

It would see drug users given medical grade heroin under supervision and also would be allowed to bring in illegal heroin which is the sticking point with the Home Office.

Mhairi Hunter, chair of the Integration Joint Board, said: “The letter from the Home Office shows they are listening to what is being said about a safer consumption room in Glasgow.

“The public health case for a SDCF is as compelling as ever. All the evidence shows that a SCDF in Glasgow will prevent drug deaths, stem the spread of HIV infection, reduce drug-related litter and save services millions of pounds each year. We will continue to make the case that harmful drug use must be treated as a public health issue as a matter of urgency.”

Alison Thewliss, Glasgow Central SNP MP, said the status quo was clearly not working and and innovative strategies were needed,

She said: “This latest response from the Home Office concerning the implementation of a Safer Drug Consumption Facility (SDCF) in Glasgow shows that the UK Government clearly recognise the benefits that such a facility could bring, yet they still refuse to grant a legal exemption to allow it to go ahead.

“This approach is truly baffling. Supporters of this facility are not asking for drugs policy to be completely rewritten, we are asking for the UK Government to allow a trial of a facility that has been proven to save lives in cities all over the world.”