POLL: Would ‘shooting galleries’ help tackle drug problems in Dundee?

© DC ThomsonA drug addict in Dundee’s Bell Street car park.
A drug addict in Dundee’s Bell Street car park.

The shocking image published by The Courier today is likely to reopen the debate into how drug addicts are dealt with in society.

One suggestion that has often been raised is the introduction of so-called “shooting galleries” – designated places where addicts can go to inject in as safe an environment as possible.

Responding to the latest image, Councillor Ken Lynn, chairman of the Dundee health and social care integrated joint board, said he believes the time has come to test out a different approach to tackling problem drug use.

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Mr Lynn, who spent 25 years working in the preventative field, said: “This is a huge issue and a major priority for the IJB, and myself, to tackle this type of problem.

“Safe injecting areas wouldn’t take every case away from stairwells or behind hedges, but it would take a sizeable proportion of activity off the street.”

Dundee counciller Ken Lynn.
Dundee counciller Ken Lynn.

Mr Lynn described the traditional “law and order” approach as flawed, saying it has failed to stem the tide of the addiction and its links with crime and premature death.

“We need to think of new ways to tackle this issue,” he said. “There is no point in doing the same things we have been doing for years without seeing any impact.

“I applaud the police, but we need to have something over and above the law and order approach.

“It’s regrettable that people came upon this, but it’s unfortunately inevitable given the epidemic.”

Late last year, the UK’s first heroin shooting gallery allowing addicts to inject in a safe and supervised environment was approved in Glasgow.

The facility, also known as a “fix room”, is designed to help the estimated 500 drug users who currently inject themselves on the city’s streets by providing them with sterile needles.

Staff at the project will supervise the drug users to prevent them from overdosing, as well as providing links to recovery and other health services.

 

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