A KEY meeting to determine how the UK’s first safe drug consumption room could be trialled in Glasgow will go ahead before the end of this month, the Sunday National can reveal.

Members of Glasgow’s Integration Joint Board (IJB) will meet on September 27 for talks on how the scheme can go ahead, after it was effectively given the go-ahead by the Scottish Government’s top lawyer last week.

They are tasked with finding a way of operating the pilot within the strict parameters set out by the Lord Advocate in her announcement on Monday.

Key to this will be ensuring the service is located in an area of Glasgow where it is supported by people living there as well as including other services to help people kick drugs.

The consumption room will also need to provide people with safe and clean equipment like pipes and needles with which to take drugs as well as medical staff to supervise users in case of overdoses.

The National: Belville naloxone training

Many public sector workers in Scotland, including police officers, are trained to use the overdose antidote naloxone and staff manning the service could be similarly equipped with the life-saving drug.

Members of the Integration Joint Board will conduct the meeting over Teams and will discuss a paper prepared in advance of the session outlining the key issues they must address before opening a facility.

This will be published in advance of the meeting later this month, it is understood. 

One insider said the meeting could be followed by a consultation period so the views of those not on the board and members of the public could be heard.

If the exercise lasts as long as a normal council consultation, the pilot could be approved by early November.

READ MORE: Drug consumption rooms given green light by top Scottish Government lawyer

But insiders have warned that because of the sensitivity of the issue timings are hard to predict and it is not known when the pilot will be launched, if at all.

Drug consumption rooms are seen as one way of reducing Scotland’s drug deaths crisis.

With 1051 deaths caused by drugs in 2022, Scotland has the worst drug death rate in the UK and the rest of Europe.

The latest figures were down 279, bringing the total to its lowest level in five years.

The national conversation around drug deaths was sparked in large part in 2018, when drug deaths leapt from 934 to 1187. That was an increase of 253 and the highest total in Scotland on record to that point. Numbers continued to rise, peaking in 2020 and have declined since.

But due to Scotland’s drug death rate outstripping all other parts of the UK and the rest of Europe, the issue remains an immediate concern for the authorities.

The National: Peter Krykant

This is due in part to the vocal and radical campaign of Peter Krykant (above), who ran a drug consumption room from a van parked in Glasgow’s city centre.

Announcing her official position on operating a drug consumption room in Glasgow, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain relied heavily on the public health arguments for creating such facilities.

She wrote: “I understand that the proposed facility would operate in an area where public injecting is already a significant issue and is intended to engage with those in that area, whom health and support services find most difficult to reach.

“Central to my consideration of the request has been the fact that the proposed facility would be co-located with other services which, taken together, may be able to offer a range of support and assistance to those consuming drugs.

“Further, although I am aware it is not the main aim of the proposed facility, my understanding is that the facility could, over time and in some cases, provide the necessary resources to assist those using the facility into recovery.

“Against this backdrop therefore, I can confirm that was a facility of the type described in the documents which I have been provided with to open as a pilot in Glasgow, then I would be prepared to publish a statement of prosecution policy to the effect that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute users of that facility in terms of section 5(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for simple possession offences committed within the confines of the facility.”