The UK’s first official consumption room for illegal drugs including heroin and cocaine has been approved by authorities in Glasgow.
The facility is backed by the Scottish government as a way to tackle the country’s drugs deaths crisis.
The pilot scheme will be based at a health centre in the east end of Glasgow.
It will see users take their own drugs under the supervision of trained health professionals.
Glasgow’s Integration Joint Board, which brings together NHS and council officials, ratified the plans at an online meeting on Wednesday morning.
It is hoped the project, funded by the Scottish government, will be opened by next summer – and will run for an initial three years at a total cost of £7m.
A report on the facility prepared by officials from the NHS and Glasgow City Council said it aimed to tackle the problem of “approximately 400 to 500 people injecting drugs in public places in Glasgow city centre on a regular basis”.
The idea has been discussed for years but it is able to go ahead now after Scotland’s senior law officer said users would not be prosecuted for possessing illegal drugs while at the facility.
The guidance issued to prosecutors by Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC earlier this month stated that it would “not be in the public interest” to bring proceedings in such cases.
The Glasgow consumption room would be based at Hunter Street in the east end of the city alongside a clinic where 23 long-term drug users are currently prescribed pharmaceutical heroin.
Jade, 33, a drug user in the east end described it as a “brilliant idea” which would “make a massive, massive difference”.