Readers' Letters: There’s no ‘safe’ when it comes to drug consumption rooms

What's wrong with providing facilities for people to take illegal drugs “safely”?

It's not safe. The drug is just as harmful wherever it is taken. It gives the impression that the only or main danger of drugs is unhygienic consumption. Implying that drug abuse can be “safe” takes away a deterrent to people experimenting with drugs and takes away a motivation to stop. It implies an expectation that illegal drug abusers will continue to be illegal drug abusers. It communicates that our society doesn't really have a problem with illegal drug abuse. It implies that the only danger of illegal drug abuse is to the user, while the harms are actually also inflicted on family, friends and wider society. It is a step towards the legalisation and social acceptance of dangerous addictive drugs.

To sum up, “safe” consumption rooms will, in the longer term, lead to more drug abuse, more drug addiction, more drug deaths and more fear, hurt, injury, loss and death among the law-abiding citizens who cross their path.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The ideal site for any “safe” consumption room is the forecourt of the Scottish Parliament. At least then some of the negative consequences would be felt by the MSPs who supported it and visitors to Scotland would better understand what sort of nation they are visiting.

In Brussels, a drug consumption room - something reader doesn't wish to see in Scotland (Picture: Juliette Bruynseels/AFP via Getty Images)In Brussels, a drug consumption room - something reader doesn't wish to see in Scotland (Picture: Juliette Bruynseels/AFP via Getty Images)
In Brussels, a drug consumption room - something reader doesn't wish to see in Scotland (Picture: Juliette Bruynseels/AFP via Getty Images)

Richard Lucas, Scottish Family Party, Glasgow

Grievance tool

The Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain KC, publishes her instruction regarding drug consumption rooms: “On the basis of the information I have been provided, I would be prepared to publish a prosecution policy that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility.” Already, on 23 September 2021, the Lord Advocate “effectively decriminalised” possession of Class A drugs, according to Scottish Legal News.

This raises a question: for a considerable time the SNP has been demanding a policy of consumption rooms, and lamenting that it is not possible to effect one in Scotland “because of Westminster”. If it is possible for the Lord Advocate to – in effect – legalise drug consumption under medical supervision now, why has it not been possible for her, or indeed her predecessor, to do this unilaterally before now?

The answer, of course, is that this issue is merely one of many that has been used as a weapon to demonise Westminster in SNP propaganda.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Fund festival

I am staggered by Creative Scotland's decision to withhold funding from the Lammermuir Festival (your report, 13 September). This wonderful little festival in East Lothian has been growing in stature since its foundation in 2010. I have been reviewing the festival for the Edinburgh Music Review for the past three years, and the standard of performance, organisation and venue has been consistently fantastic. This year I have attended four concerts, all playing to full houses, providing diverse programmes of top quality, with ticket prices kept at very reasonable levels (much cheaper than comparable festivals), attracting a mixed audience of locals and Edinburgh residents.

How on earth Creative Scotland can decide to stop funding this excellent, high-quality festival, which gives work to so many and pleasure to such a wide audience, is completely incomprehensible and they should think again immediately.

Brian Bannatyne-Scott, Edinburgh

Road plan failure

I am writing in relation to the Corstorphine Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) which has been imposed on Corstorphine by the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) against the wishes of the local community.

In CEC’s own Phase 2 Engagement Consultation most respondents opposed the vast majority of the proposed changes. In particular, one of the most controversial changes, the Manse Road Bus Gate, was opposed by 74 per cent of respondents to the survey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Also, in a recent survey by the local Lib Dem councillors (which received more than 1,000 responses) over 65 per cent of respondents strongly opposed most of the measures in the Manse Road/Featherhall area. Despite this, CEC are proceeding with the planned LTN.

Manse Road used to be one-way its entire length, whereas now it changes from one-way to two-way and then back to one-way again in less than 50 metres. This is very confusing for drivers and no amount of changes to the signage is likely to remove this confusion.

CEC recently published the results of post-LTN traffic monitoring and compared it to baseline data which they recorded prior to the LTN implementation. While this (hardly surprisingly) shows a significant reduction of traffic on Manse Road it has clearly had a significant negative impact on many of the other streets in the LTN area and surrounding boundary roads, with some increases above 20 per cent, and in one case as high as 80 per cent, suggesting that rather than reducing the traffic in the area it is simply displacing it to other roads.

I call upon the council to end this LTN debacle by reverting these unwanted changes which are not even achieving their intended aims.

​David Lowe, Edinburgh

Sing proudly

Ally McCoist was absolutely right to condemn those antediluvian Scots in the Hampden crowd on Tuesday night who heckled and booed the British (English) National Anthem.

Whether they were SNP acolytes, as Ally thought, or not, it was a classic example of these anti-English troglodytes being of limited intellect exhibiting their hyper-ignorance.

Ally, like myself and many, many, other Scots consider ourselves British and take pride in singing the British National Anthem, as we do Flower of Scotland – reserved for appropriate occasions.

Doug Morrison, Cranbrook, Kent

Whatever next?

So Edinburgh Council’s Labour transport convener Scott Arthur says that as a society we need to wean ourselves of next-day deliveries as we're adding to the damage of the environment (your report, 13 September). In my humble opinion, if we stop next-day deliveries what might happen is people will start using cars to actually go shopping – would this not impact the environment more?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I then turn the page to read that a team from Leicester University have found that while we are having record-breaking heat in September, Saturn's late Northern summer is experiencing a cooling trend. I take it our movement towards next-day delivery will somehow be responsible for this too.

J Moore, Glasgow

Mapping machines

Mark Boyle (Letters, 13 September) says George Herraghty's letter about windfarms shows he "gloats" when wind power fails. Mr Herraghty simply pointed out that wind power is an unreliable energy source.

One of the best things anyone could have on their smartphone is the Ordnance Survey Maps App Premium which gives access to all the Ordnance Survey maps of the UK. As a geographer I believe they are the best maps in the world. The 1:25000 series shows every single wind machine in the country.

When I look at some of the Scottish hills and moors I have crossed in years gone by I am shocked by the extent of the environmental degradation of this medieval technology.

William Loneskie, Oxton, Lauder, Berwickshire

Pumped up

MPs have returned from their summer break and are voting on a dystopian 446-page energy bill. Previous energy legislation indicated what would be mandated on government, but this new one shows what will be mandated on private citizens, with potential prosecution for non-compliance.

For example, Section 237 indicates that the rules will require “persons to supply evidence of their compliance” and “conferring powers of entry, including by reasonable force” to enforcement authorities.

But section 248 is worse. It states that criminal offences may be created for non-compliance that could result in fines of up to £15,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment.

I suggest a trial run, with MPs who haven't fitted a heat pump by 2025 being fined, and those who still haven't done so by 2026 being jailed.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

Back to basics

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Most of us associate the three Rs with the educational field and of course, without a good understanding of these basic principles we would struggle to survive in the modern world. However, I suggest that there are another three Rs which should underpin the basics of parenting if we would like our children to grow and be useful citizens in their future.

These three Rs are Respect, Resilience and Responsibility and these are best learnt from an early age.

Respect for themselves and others who may have a different view on the world.

Resilience to be able to interact with others to withstand and overcome the knockbacks that they will undoubtedly receive during their lives.

Responsibility for their own actions and acceptance of the outcomes of those actions.

I suggest that there is a large minority of our population that could do with learning these three Rs, and judging from the move to a more lenient view of “low level” crime by our lawmakers, a lot of our politicians could also do with remembering these basics.

A Lewis, Coylton, Ayrshire

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts – no letters submitted elsewhere, please. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line – be specific. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.