We can, as a city, show our support for a more humane and less stigmatising drug policy. Drug addiction is a public health issue. Every death from drug misuse is an avoidable human tragedy.

Scottish Greens have welcomed the publication of a new report from the UK Home Affairs Committee which calls for a range of drug policy reforms, including a review of drug classifications and the piloting of safe consumption rooms. This is an important report that underlines the urgent need for change to address rising drug-related harms among people who inject drugs.

We also welcome, after two years of deliberations, the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain’s statement 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” which provides the way for Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership to create the facility.

We can hope that the UK Government recognises and respects this advice from the Lord Advocate.

A pilot safer drugs consumption project is part of our efforts to tackle drug deaths in Scotland, where the rate is the highest in Europe. The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland showed there were a total of 1,051 deaths due to drug misuse in Scotland in 2022.

Recently, many countries including the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Uruguay, Spain, and Australia have adopted an approach to drugs policy that includes a focus on harm reduction.

We can look to, and learn from, countries like Portugal who have shown that the change to a health-led approach can offer support to people who need it and reduce some of the stigma with addiction.

Through the provision of a pilot safer drug consumption facility, there can be a focus on harm reduction and the prevention of drug-related overdose deaths. Drug users can access sterile injecting equipment, the provision of counselling services before, during and after drug consumption as well as emergency care in the event of overdose. There is support available to access primary medical care and a referral to appropriate social healthcare and addiction treatment services. This facility can also contribute to a reduction in drug use in public places and therefore, the presence of discarded needles within communities.

Safe consumption rooms are not a fix-all solution, but they can have an important role to play in saving lives.

They can provide a way forward in drug treatment and offer hope and relief for many people and families who have had their lives impacted by drug misuse.

Scottish Greens believe that we need interventions such as safer drug consumption facilities to address drug deaths. Scotland has a proud record of harm reduction, with things like the smoking ban, minimum unit pricing for alcohol and our approach to knife crime.

We are at a turning point now, and we have the opportunity to change our society’s relationship with drugs.

Through support for safer drug consumption, we can ensure that people at risk of drug-related harm can get the help they need.