DRUGS misuse in the city centre tops the list of residents’ concerns, a community council survey has found. 

Residents in the Merchant City and Trongate area revealed that they were most worried about finding discarded paraphernalia on the city’s streets. 

Locals also reported increased visibility in drug use in the area during the first coronavirus lockdown. 

Niall McColl, social media manager at the Merchant City and Trongate Community Council (MCTCC), said: “Residents in the heart of the city are worried about the amount of drug-taking paraphernalia on the streets, with visible drug taking.

Glasgow Times: Needle found on Argyle Street in MarchNeedle found on Argyle Street in March

“They also noticed increased visibility of drug taking during the pandemic lockdown.”

In March, we reported residents’ concerns over the use of illegal substances in the area.

Resident told how they had become “too afraid” to leave their homes during the Covid lockdown with the MCTCC warning the streets were becoming “strewn” with discarded needles.

The group dealt with a number of reports from neighbours, who, on a few occasions, had to dispose of used needles themselves. 

The findings come less than a month after Scotland was named the drugs death captial of Europe for the seventh consecutive time. 

Of these deaths, Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded the highest number with 291 men and women losing their lives to drugs in the city in 2020.

Meanwhile, inadequate recycling and refuse disposal facilities was found to be the second biggest complaint in the Merchant City and Trongate survey.

Glasgow Times: Chairman of MCTCC Dr Duncan MacLarenChairman of MCTCC Dr Duncan MacLaren

This was followed by parking and traffic problems and the absence of parks and other green spaces.

Over half of those who responded to the poll said they would like to see increased pedestrianisation.

Other issues highlighted included begging, the lack of GP surgeries and empty shop units.

Niall McColl added: “We have shared the results with elected Glasgow  City Council officials and police with the aim of feeding back the community’s concerns and opportunities for improvement.”

Chairman Dr Duncan MacLaren said: “The surveys give a snapshot of what residents in our city centre community think needs to be prioritised in our area.

“It is necessary for residents to realise they are part of a community and, when we speak together as a community, our voice for change is much stronger. 

“We will be using surveys more frequently in future to gauge the views of our residents in order to pass on those views to the council, the Scottish and UK Parliaments as well as the police”.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “Public drug injecting is clearly a cause for concern and has been the subject of considerable work by the city’s health and social care partnership. Glasgow has a well-established plan to open a Safer Drug Consumption Facility as soon as the legal framework is in place to allow this to happen.

“The case for a fully regulated service of this type remains compelling and we stand by our position that such a facility would help save lives and reduce the spread of blood-borne viruses.

“ Glasgow has also pioneered heroin-assisted treatment as a way to save lives among people with chronic, long term addictions issues. Research shows that both safer drug consumption facilities and heroin-assisted treatment programmes reduce public injecting and also associated drug litter.

“We continue to work with our partners in the NHS to develop services for those affected by addiction and ensure individuals are engaged with support and treatment as this greatly reduces their risk of overdose.

“Any discarded needles found in public places should be reported and we will seek to remove these as a matter of urgency.”

The council also addressed the need for green spaces within the neighbourhood. 

A spokesman added: “We are currently developing plans to create liveable neighbourhoods across all city areas and these plans will put a far greater emphasis on walking, wheeling and cycling, including within the city centre.

“The Avenues project will transform streets across the city centre in line with the work that has been completed in Sauchiehall Street and provides an insight into how city centre areas will look in the years ahead.

“We are also looking at ways in which the Ramshorn cemetery could be used as a green space for the benefit of the local community.

“There are over 670 public recycling sites across the city that are serviced by the council and we constantly review this provision to help ensure it matches the needs of residents in specific areas as far as possible.”

The next public meeting of the community council will be held over a video link on Tuesday, August 31 at 7 pm. 

For details see www.mctcc.scot or email info@mctcc.scot