A Glasgow councillor has said currently illegal drugs should be available to buy from pharmacies or elsewhere to cut out criminal suppliers.

Councillor Norman MacLeod points to the control of alcohol and tobacco as an example of how the banned drugs could possibly be managed in a legal setting.

There are currently an estimated 11,869 to 18,060 problem drug users in Glasgow according to Public Health Scotland.

Speaking at yesterday’s Glasgow City Integration Joint Board health meeting: SNP Councillor MacLeod said: “I feel very strongly that we are foolish in not finding a way lawfully to make available the fulling of the demand.

“Whether we make substances as I would suggest available for purchase in pharmacies or wherever at least it would take the criminals out.

"It would take out the vested self-interest, which criminals have in getting young people addicted and keeping them addicted and so forth.

"It would remove the criminal enterprise, which is a blight on society. ”

The Pollokshields politician expressed his “personal opinion” as the board heard an update on the Glasgow City Alcohol and Drug Partnership annual reporting survey.

He told the board – which was attended by staff involved in helping people battle drug addiction – that prohibition doesn’t work and creates a “criminal market.”

Councillor MacLeod added: “There are a lot of colleagues involved in trying to mitigate these dangers.

"I would take the opportunity to say can people have a think about that? It is not just us. How many people lose their lives in Mexico for example because of the criminal supply of these drugs to the United States?

“I don’t believe prohibition works and we should find ways other than  what we have at the moment.”

He pointed out that “alcohol and tobacco are equally dangerous to many people” but  “we have tried to licence and control to the best of our ability.”

He said in relation to the supply of alcohol he was not aware of any “criminal conspiracies.”

He added: “It is done lawfully – whether or not it is good for us is another discussion.”

Kelda Gaffney, head of adult services, alcohol and drug recovery and mental health, gave the board an update on the Glasgow City Alcohol and Drug Partnership annual reporting survey, which is to be submitted to the Scottish Government.

The survey reports on activities and progress against the  National Drug Deaths Mission Outcomes Framework during the financial year 2023 to 2024.

Ms Gaffney said the framework “was developed to address drug-related deaths and focuses on a number of areas including reducing the risks to people who use drugs, ensuring that people have access to high-quality treatment, that children, families and communities affected by substance use are supported and quality of life is improved for people as well as the prevention agenda.”