Needle exchange closure leaves city addicts nowhere to go

Drug addict

Glasgow facility was the country's busiest 

26th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A needle exchange for drug addicts is set to close.

The centre, in Central Station, is Scotland’s busiest.

Network Rail, which owns the building, said it was forced to take action due to concerns for public safety after drug-taking equipment was found in public areas.

The exchange has been operating for just over a year in response to increasing cases of HIV in the city.

Since July 2016 it has handed out over 40,000 sets of clean injecting equipment for 2.000 drug users. 

David Liddell of the Scottish Drugs Forum said: "This is extremely short-sighted and is definitely not in the wider public interest, particularly when there's a major HIV outbreak which is currently ongoing among drug injectors in Glasgow which is not under control.

"The closure of this facility giving out over a thousand sets of injecting equipment a month will be sadly missed and [could] potentially lead to serious consequences."

The launch of the facility was supported by the NHS, Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership said: "The service has been run in an exemplary fashion and is ideally placed to provide the service out of hours.

"Network Rail's position of enforced closure goes against local, national and international evidence on the individual and community public health benefits."

Network Rail said: "While we appreciate and understand the good work and reasoning behind the exchange kit idea, we were constantly finding leftover kits in our accessible toilets and customer toilet cubicles.”