Plans for a Safer Drugs Consumption facility in Glasgow can go ahead after the Lord Advocate said she would support not prosecuting people who use the facility.

The council and health board have wanted to open a service in the city where people who use drugs can inject in a safe space to prevent fatal overdoses and provide access to addiction services.

The UK Home Office, however, has repeatedly said it would not change the law on drugs to allow it to open.

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A statement from Dorothy Bain, the Lord Advocate, has been awaited on whether a facility can be opened in Scotland without a need to change the law.

She has now said she would publish a policy that “it would not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility”.

She added: “I have not been asked to sign-off or approve any facility and it would not be appropriate for me to do so. However, prosecution policy is for me alone to set and this policy, and the consequences which flow from it, have been considered deeply and thoroughly.”

The Lord Advocate added it is not a change of the law nor is it decriminalisation, as she does not have that power.

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She added: “That could only be done by parliament. I wish to be clear that any statement of prosecution policy does not, and could not, represent legalisation of drugs or decriminalisation of the offence of being in possession of a controlled substance.”

The Scottish Government said authorities in Glasgow can now go ahead with their plans.

Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister Elena Whitham said: “I welcome the position the Lord Advocate has taken.

“Glasgow authorities may now progress their proposal to set up a facility which can operate within the existing legal framework.

"While the service would still be limited to some extent, due to the reserved Misuse of Drugs Act, we are confident it would save lives.

“This is not a silver bullet. But we know from evidence from more than 100 facilities worldwide that Safer Drug Consumption Facilities work. It is now time to see this approach piloted in Scotland.

“It’s vital this pilot has the full confidence of the general public as well as those who use the facility, and the leadership of Glasgow and Police Scotland will help ensure it is introduced as quickly as possible."

Suzanne Millar, chief officer of the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We welcome the position taken by the Lord Advocate and the positive response on plans for a Safer Drug Consumption Facility to operate in Glasgow.

"A large body of evidence already exists from around the world which demonstrates that Safer Drugs Consumption Facilities can save lives as well as reducing the spread of blood borne viruses and cutting levels of publically discarded injecting equipment.”