In 2018, 1187 people died from drug related causes in Scotland. That is higher than any other European country.1 The UK’s current approach to drug policy clearly isn’t working. My personal project aims to take a more proactive and holistic approach to substance addiction to change the way we deal with this issue and help prevent further unnecessary deaths from drugs.
The research chapter in my process journal shows detailed analysis of theories as well as existing examples. All the evidence points towards compassionate care instead of criminalising people who suffer with addiction. Demonising these people just places blame on the individual rather
than the circumstances that led to the reliance on substances. Addiction is a multifaceted subject, however, research has shown it is extremely closely linked to mental health and is often triggered by trauma and vulnerability. Therefore, we should be doing more to help these people instead of criminalising them.
Drug consumption rooms (DCR) are not a new idea. In fact, the first DCR opened in Berne, Switzerland in 1986.2 Their successful results has meant this model is being adopted throughout the world. By providing supervision and clean equipment a DCR is able to significantly reduce overdose deaths and blood borne virus transmissions. In some cases it is even 30% more likely to refer visitors to start recovery programmes.3 This not only benefits people suffering with addiction but also the wider community. If there is a DCR it means less street use, less drug litter, fewer drug related deaths and fewer ambulance calls.
It’s about time we changed how people who suffer with addiction are treated.