The interior office must abandon its opposition to safe injection facilities if it wants to reduce drug-related deaths now at record levels, a former drug chief said.
David Nut, who chaired the Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, said that failing to disclose last week that drug mortality was the highest since records began in 1993 would be a "deliberate neglect of evidence. " Statistics show that drug poisoning deaths increased by 16% last year, representing the steepest year-on-year growth. However, the interior office refuses to sanction safe injection rooms – places where addicts can inject under medical supervision.
Nutt was fired as king of drugs in 2009 after saying that ecstasy and LSD are less dangerous than alcohol. He is chairman of the charity Drugs, he said observer: "Safe injection rooms work. Not only do they save lives, they are also the door to rehabilitation and removal of needles and other accessories from our streets and parks. They are a triple win. "
Recovery rooms have dramatically reduced drug deaths in many countries, including Denmark and Canada, but the Home Office has blocked attempts to sue them in the UK. The NHS was reluctant to seek permission to test them in Glasgow – drug deaths are higher in Scotland than in any other European country. In March, the Labor Party also called for a drug courtroom to reduce mortality.
A document written by the drug law enforcement team last year and sent to Glasgow councilors acknowledged that "there is evidence of the effectiveness of drug use facilities and of dealing with public nuisance issues related to drug scenes , and to reduce the risk to drug users' health. "
Campaigns indicate that overdose rates have dropped in European countries that have adopted the policy, while in the UK they have jumped.
Recent figures show that last year there were 4,359 drug poisoning deaths in England and Wales, with more than half involving opiates as heroin.
Martin Powell of the Drug Transformation Foundation, which seeks to reduce drug-related harm through evidence-based policy reform, said: "When thousands of families are killed every year by avoidable drug deaths, there is no doubt that the government continues to block controlled drug use facilities – especially when admitted on Glasgow council, where the NHIF calls on them to be allowed to open such facilities. We call on the Secretary of State to recognize this as a public health emergency and to act now. "Recent research, published in June, found that institutions have saved 230 deaths in 20 months in British Columbia. The Canadian province has a similar population and drug problem with Scotland.
Last year guard visited a safety facility in Denmark, where 800 doses were reported without any deaths, as nurses quickly assigned antidotes and resuscitated the person before calling an ambulance. Campaigns say that drug deaths in the country have stabilized since 2011, while there are no reported drug deaths in Europe, of which at least 78.
The UK Government Advisory Council itself on drug abuse said safe injection facilities in Vancouver, Canada and Sydney, Australia have been successful in reducing overdose deaths.