FURTHER calls are being made for Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities in Glasgow after a community hit out over a children’s playpark being littered by discarded used needles.

We reported last week that a petition has been created calling for the ban of a Maryhill needle exchange. It came after discarded used needles were left in Dunard Children’s Playpark, which is also near the school.

Angry residents including Rachael McIntyre, 28, who started the petition claim that the Lloyds Pharmacy on Maryhill Road which has a needle exchange is encouraging drug users to the park. The Evening Times understands a child had to see a doctor after being pricked by one of the needles.

Now Alison Thewliss MP has renewed her calls for the current UK Government to rethink their policy. The Home Office previously blocked the plans for a facility that is widely accepted,to bring benefits. The Evening Times also recently wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to come to the city and hear from people calling for facility. His office is currently considering our invitation.

Alison Thewliss MP said: “Unfortunately, cases of discarded drug paraphernalia and litter are all too common in Glasgow city centre. Indeed, there are a number of sites in close proximity to my constituency office – near public footpaths and parks – where drug kits are regularly discarded. This presents an unacceptable risk to the public.

“There is no panacea when it comes to tackling Scotland’s rising drug deaths. However, Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities (SDCFs) should form a key part of the response. In a SDCF, people are provided with clean injecting equipment which can be safely discarded on site. Not only that, it allows health and social care services to engage with people – some of whom may never have connected with services in the past – in order to offer support and advice.

“It’s clear to see the benefits of such a facility, not only to those using it, but to the wider public. At the moment, with no other alternatives, people will continue to inject in alleyways, closes, parks and elsewhere.

“The UK Government have overlooked the evidence on SDCFs for far too long. If they’re not willing to make the necessary legal adjustments to allow for a facility in Glasgow, then they must urgently devolve the necessary powers to Scotland to allow us to get on with the job ourselves.”

Lloyds pharmacy has now said it is acting on the community’s concern.

A spokeswoman said: “We appreciate the local community letting us know their concerns relating to the needle exchange service at our community pharmacy in Maryhill Road. Our priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and local community, as well as ensuring that patients have access to the medication and services they need. Our needle exchange service is a valuable resource for our patients and offers them the facility to pick up empty sharps bins and exchange used needles for clean ones.

“We have liaised with the health board and the local council, who have arranged for the park to be cleaned up in the coming days to remove all needles. Our local community is very important to us and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

A spokeswoman for Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership added: “A safer drug consumption facility will prevent drug deaths, stem the spread of HIV infection, reduce potentially dangerous drug-related litter in communities and save health and social care services millions of pounds.”