AN AYRSHIRE MSP has given her backing to a report from MPs calling for safe drug consumption rooms to be piloted in Scotland.

Elena Whitham said the recommendation by Westminster's Home Affairs Committee was one she had supported for some time.

But the Home Office has already said they will not even consider the recommendation.

Drug consumption rooms are facilities where people can inject drugs under supervision.

Efforts to run facilities in Glasgow have so far been blocked by the Home Office.

However, the Home Affairs Committee said that if if the UK government refuses to back a pilot jointly funded with Holyrood, the power to introduce them should be devolved.

A Home Office spokesperson said the UK government's focus was on tackling the supply of drugs, and on treatment.

Cumnock Chronicle: Drug Policy Minister Elena Whitham MSPDrug Policy Minister Elena Whitham MSP (Image: Elena Whitham)

Ms Whitham, who represents the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency and is Scotland's minister for drug and alcohol policy, said today: "We are doing everything within our powers to tackle drug deaths in Scotland, including investing an additional £250 million in our national mission to save and improve lives.

"We welcome this report from the Home Affairs Committee which endorses our position on safer drug consumption facilities (SDCFs) and supports the proposal to pilot such a facility in Scotland.

"We have long called for agreement from the UK Government to allow us to do this, whether to support us in establishing a pilot or through devolving the necessary powers to allow us to do so.

"It has always been in the UK Government's power to accelerate the delivery of an SDCF.

"If it was serious about looking to improve outcomes for people affected by problem substance use it could use powers reserved to it to support what we are already doing within devolved powers, or devolve the appropriate powers to us so we could move to implement a facility as quickly as possible."

The Home Affairs Committee's report recommends the Scottish and UK governments work together to fund the scheme.

The report also recommends that drug laws are devolved to the Scottish Parliament if the UK Government remains unwilling to support the pilot.

It comes as figures published last week revealed drug deaths in Scotland had fallen to their lowest since 2017 - to a total of 1,051.

However, the country still has the highest death rate in Europe.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “There is no safe way to take illegal drugs, which devastate lives, ruin families and damage communities, and we have no plans to consider this.

“Our 10-year Drugs Strategy set out ambitious plans, backed with a record £3 billion funding over three years to tackle the supply of illicit drugs through relentless policing action and building a world-class system of treatment and recovery to turn people’s lives around and prevent crime.”