Drug and alcohol service providers are continuing to break the silence on drug consumption rooms, with Blenheim CDP releasing a public position stating they would be willing to provide a drug consumption room where they are needed.
In doing so, Blenheim CDP are agreeing with the ACMD recommendation that drug consumption rooms should be considered by UK country governments and local commissioners.
Drug consumption rooms are facilities where illicit drugs can be consumed under the supervision of trained staff.
They are an intervention which has received increasing attention in the wake of an alarming rise in drug related deaths as they have been proven to prevent overdoses. The UK had a record of providing drug consumption rooms during the 1960s and mid 1970s, with people who use injectable drugs in South London given places they could inject safely and privately. In fact, it was Blenheim CDP who was the provider of this service. However, the service was closed by the end of the 1970s and no drug consumption rooms are currently established in the UK.
Recently, CGL announced that they recognise the evidence base behind drug consumption rooms and would be open to working with any of their commissioners who may wish to consider implementing one.
Blenheim have now gone even further by explicitly stating that “Blenheim CDP would be willing to be the provider of a drug consumption room.” Blenheim’s offer of provision will be of interest to localities across the UK who are exploring the feasibility of this intervention. Caroline Lucas has called for drug consumption rooms to be reconsidered in Brighton and was mentioned in Blenheim CEO John Jolly’s announcement of their supportive stance.
Blenheim are also the first drug and alcohol service provider to support the ACMD’s 2016 recommendation that:
[..] consideration is given – by the governments of each UK country and by local commissioners of drug treatment services – to the potential to reduce DRDs [drug related deaths] and other harms through the provision of medically-supervised drug consumption clinics in localities with a high concentration of injecting drug use.
What is notable about Blenheim’s position is that they have moved beyond recognising the evidence base and are now explicitly calling for drug consumption rooms to be considered, as well as offering up their services. Perhaps this is unsurprising considering Blenheim’s history, but it undoubtedly marks a shift in how actively drug and alcohol treatment providers are supporting drug consumption rooms.
Blenheim’s full statement:
Drug consumption rooms are a well-researched effective intervention and whilst not suitable everywhere are valuable particularly in urban environments. Blenheim CDP would be willing to work with any commissioners who were considering drugs consumption rooms as an initiative and would be willing to provide them. We support the ACMD’s recommendation that ‘consideration is given – by the governments of each UK country and by local commissioners of drug treatment services – to the potential to reduce DRDs and other harms through the provision of medically-supervised drug consumption clinics in localities with a high concentration of injecting drug use.
Lizzie McCulloch is a Policy Advisor at Volteface – read her report ‘Black Sheep: An Investigation into Existing Support for Problematic Cannabis Use’. Tweets @mccullochlizzie1