19 September 2023
At INHSU 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland, we hosted a policy day focussed on the benefits of supervised consumption sites (SCS). This event came at an important crossroads for Glasgow, as policymakers, healthcare professionals, and peer organisations advocated to pilot the UK’s first-ever SCS.
One year later, the Scottish Lord Advocate, The Right Honourable Dorothy Bain KC, has confirmed that – if the facility does open – the people who use it will not be prosecuted.
“On the basis of the information I have been provided, I would be prepared to publish a prosecution policy that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility,” she confirmed in a statement.
According to the Guardian, the Scottish government’s drugs minister, Elena Whitham, has since confirmed that proposals for the “lifesaving” pilot scheme will now go before the city’s integrated board of council and health officials at the end of September.
If successful, the proposal will be put to public consultation with the SCS and potentially opened within a year.
“Showcasing international good practice and bringing together policymakers, we are proud of the small role that INHSU’s 2022 Policy Day played in supporting the establishment of supervised consumption sites in Glasgow,” says Emma Day, executive director at INHSU.
“The recent decision by the Scottish Lord Advocate to prioritise health and support over prosecution is an important step in Glasgow’s supervised consumption site efforts, and we commend all those involved in submitting the proposal.”
Supervised Consumption Site Policy Brief
As explained in our Supervised Consumption Site Policy Brief, a strong understanding of local legal frameworks and the support of the legal system and local police play an integral role in any SCS to ensure those using the service can do so without fear of prosecution.
Based on discussions and findings from the policy day, the brief summarises recommendations from international models of success presented at the event, compiles the latest evidence, and provides implementation considerations for countries and cities looking to implement SCS.