Health bosses have approved plans to proceed with a safer drug consumption room in Glasgow.

The city’s Integrated Joint Board which oversees health and social care agreed unanimously to move forward to staffing and equipping the facility to allow it to open.

The Scottish Government has committed funding of £2.3m a year for a pilot in the city, which would be located in Hunter Street in the east end beside a current drug treatment facility.

The funding will begin from April next year and councillors and health officials are keen for the service to be open as soon as is possible.

The site has been chosen and officials have been planning the operation for years.

Susanne Millar HSCP chief officer said it is estimated there are around 400 to 500 people who are injecting drugs in public in the city.

She added that many were “far away” from engaging in council and NHS services to help people who use drugs.

The plan is that the facility will reduce overdose deaths by providing a supervised setting where people can inject drugs.

Also, it is hoped they will be more likely to seek access to other services to help them reduce or stop taking drugs.

Questions were raised about the likelihood of a facility attracting dealers.

Ms Millar, however, said that the evidence from other cities around the world that already have consumption rooms is that does not happen.

Similarly fears that people from other towns and cities would come to Glasgow to take drugs, free from the fear of prosecution were allayed.

Ms Millar said: “The patient/client group are not people who necessarily plan their activity. They are taking drugs in car parks, alleys, and up closes. They are not people who travel or plan a journey to consume drugs.

“We have been in contact with the places where drug consumption rooms have been operating and that is not their experience.”