The main event this year in Scotland’s now world-famous fight against drug deaths is likely to be the opening in Glasgow of the UK’s first state-backed consumption room.

The NHS-run clinic, which will enable users to inject heroin in a controlled environment, is expected to be up-and-running within a few months in the east end of the city.

Unfortunately it seems the Scottish Government, which pushed hard for this controversial facility to win approval, has already taken its eye off all the other areas which can help those affected to recover.

Rehabilitation units have been repeatedly cited by experts and people with experience of addiction as the best way of helping vulnerable users beat this hideous plight.

Yet, by September 2023, people starting places in these vital facilities had fallen to the lowest since the same point in 2021.

According to latest Public Health Scotland figures, the 114 people who began residential rehabilitation and the 57 who commenced residential detoxification was a total drop of 36 from the previous quarter.

So, while the SNP government has been making preparations for a consumption room, it has also overseen a reduction in places where users who want to completely stop taking drugs or alcohol can go.

This is a worrying indication of how things are going to play out over the next few years.

Ministers are going to be so pleased with themselves about the creation of the consumption room that every other area of support risks being overlooked.

You can bet senior SNP officials will be queuing up for photocalls here, but certainly not at the under-funded and under-valued residential facilities.

Cllr Allan Casey, the city’s addictions convener, is one of the scheme’s biggest cheerleaders, but even he acknowledged in interviews that it needs to be matched by funding and support in other areas.

That clearly isn’t happening in any way shape or form.

I don’t happen to believe the approval of these rooms is the answer to Scotland’s horrific drug deaths problem.

But we acknowledge the decision has been made for a pilot to progress, and now everyone can watch with interest to see what the impact is.

My experience of having lived in Glasgow for my whole life and representing the area as an MSP since 2016 is this: most people addicted to drugs like heroin want to stop. That is also the desperate desire of their loved ones.

These rooms will have the opposite effect, giving a green light for vulnerable people to continue the ruinous habit which has wrecked their life, their relationships, their family and their career prospects.

They don’t address the root causes of addiction and, aside from providing a few leaflets, won’t produce any kind of proper long-term solution for people who want their lives back.

What’s worse, the other avenues which could have been pursued to help them are increasingly difficult to access and even harder to navigate in full.

Will the safe consumption room save lives?

Only time will tell on that front, and that will also be the case for the range of unintended consequences which have been warned of extensively.

But the very least the Scottish Government should do is ensure that other vital routes to recovery are not neglected in the process.