City centre needle exchange was in the wrong place anyway, says expert

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

A LEADING expert in alcohol and drug studies has warned that needle exchange centres should not be located in public areas with constant surveillance from security cameras and police.

Dr Iain McPhee, a senior lecturer at University of the West of Scotland, made the comments in response to the recent decision by Network Rail to close Scotland’s busiest needle exchange in Glasgow Central Station.

He said that the exchange – closed due to an addict overdose and discarded paraphernalia – should never have been based in an area with a strong police presence, which causes injectors to throw away used needles due to fear of arrest or discovery.

The closure of the exchange is currently under review by ScotRail Alliance after concerns from the Public Health Minister, Aileen Campbell, highlighted that it was contrary to the Government’s drug strategy.

McPhee said: “Drug users that are not yet known to drug services, the police, or even their families, live in constant fear of discovery.

“As we continue to create a barrier of fear for accessing clean, safe and manageable environments for taking drugs, we will continue to see unacceptably high death rates attributed to drug injecting.

“There will be more incidents such as those in Glasgow Central Station, with no safe place for injectors to access clean needles or inject outside of a public bathroom.”

Period30 Sep 2017 → 30 Oct 2017

Media coverage

1

Media coverage

  • TitleCity centre needle exchange was in the wrong place anyway, says expert
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletTeh National Newspaper
    Media typePrint
    Duration/Length/Size2 pages
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date30/10/17
    Description A LEADING expert in alcohol and drug studies has warned that needle exchange centres should not be located in public areas with constant surveillance from security cameras and police.

    Dr Iain McPhee, a senior lecturer at University of the West of Scotland, made the comments in response to the recent decision by Network Rail to close Scotland’s busiest needle exchange in Glasgow Central Station.

    He said that the exchange – closed due to an addict overdose and discarded paraphernalia – should never have been based in an area with a strong police presence, which causes injectors to throw away used needles due to fear of arrest or discovery. The closure of the exchange is currently under review by ScotRail Alliance after concerns from the Public Health Minister, Aileen Campbell, highlighted that it was contrary to the Government’s drug strategy.

    McPhee said: “Drug users that are not yet known to drug services, the police, or even their families, live in constant fear of discovery.

    “As we continue to create a barrier of fear for accessing clean, safe and manageable environments for taking drugs, we will continue to see unacceptably high death rates attributed to drug injecting.

    “There will be more incidents such as those in Glasgow Central Station, with no safe place for injectors to access clean needles or inject outside of a public bathroom.”
    Producer/AuthorGregor Young and Iain McPhee
    URLwww.thenational.scot/news/15567813.City_centre_needle_exchange_was_in_the_wrong_place_anyway__says_expert/
    PersonsIain McPhee

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleNeedle exchange should not be in Glasgow Central train station, says drug expert
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletThe Herald
    Media typePrint
    Duration/Length/Size2 pages
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date30/09/17
    DescriptionThe needle exchange has been open since July 2016, at a branch of Boots in the concourse, and provided more than 40,000 clean sets of equipment to addicts.
    GLASGOW’S busiest needle exchange should never have been opened in the city’s largest train station, according to an expert.

    The exchange in Central Station has been closed after drug paraphernalia was found and a person overdosed.

    It had been open since July 2016, at a branch of Boots in the concourse, and provided more than 40,000 clean sets of equipment to addicts.

    But alcohol and drugs professor Dr Iain McPhee, who is based at the University of the West of Scotland, said the service should not have been based in such a public place, which is closely monitored by CCTV cameras and has a high police presence.
    He said addicts throw away used needles in areas with a strong police presence as they are afraid of being arrested or discovered.

    Dr McPhee said: “Drug users that are not yet known to drug services, the police, or even their families, live in constant fear of discovery.

    “As we continue to create a barrier of fear for accessing clean, safe and manageable environments for taking drugs, we will continue to see unacceptably high death rates attributed to drug injecting."

    The Scotrail Alliance has said it will reconsider the closure, after Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said she recognised “very real concerns” about the move.

    A ScotRail spokesman previously said they were “constantly finding leftover kits” in toilets, and “could not stand by and allow this to continue”.

    Glasgow’s health and social care partnership said the closure “goes against local, national and international evidence on the individual and community public health benefits”.
    Producer/AuthorIain McPhee
    URLwww.heraldscotland.com/news/15567582.Needle_exchange_should_not_be_in_busy_train_station__says_drug_expert/
    PersonsIain McPhee