Those dealing with the scourge of drug addiction in the city have called for “shooting galleries” following advice from Canadian experts.
Charity Addaction said it supported Professor Bernie Pauly and Dr Bruce Wallace, of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, in their call for an urgent need to introduce “safe consumption spaces” for users to prevent further deaths from overdose.
Dave Barry, services manager, spoke highly of the conference and said he hoped it spurred those responsible into acting on overdoses.
He said: “It was really interesting and relevant to what we are seeing in Dundee.
“It has really provided food for thought.
“Obviously there is a legal hurdle that needs to be overcome but I definitely think there is a place for safe consumption spaces particularly in cities like Dundee where drug deaths have become a real crisis.
“No one deserves to die so Dundee really needs to get behind anything that will reduce the number of young people who are dying of drug overdoses.”
He added that Addaction already has peer support in place in different areas of its service.
The experts had travelled from British Columbia to discuss how city services can best reduce drug deaths and addiction.
Councillor Ken Lynn, vice-chairman of the Dundee Health and Social Care partnership, spoke about the benefits of the safe rooms that had been introduced to help deal with the drug problem in British Columbia.”
He said: “They save lives. If people overdose when they are in the safe place they can immediately be given treatment.
“A lot of drug deaths are people who are on their own in their own home.
“Research shows most drug deaths actually occur indoors.”
He agreed with the visitors’ on the importance of peer support, and the idea of drug users being involved with health and help services.
Mr Lynn added that drug users are some of the first to hear about “issues” involving drugs and involving them with services would allow them to get alerts out more quickly.
He said: “I think that it is really quite innovative and something we need to look at.
“I think people who have lived experiences will always know best.”
Mr Lynn added that he thinks the introduction of the Dundee Drugs Commission has raised the profile of the city’s drug issues Scotland wide.
The event was co-hosted by the Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS), the Scottish Drugs Forum and Dundee City Council.
Anyone worried about drug or alcohol consumption can contact Addaction Dundee on 01382 206888.