Used injection needles of heroin addicts.

Used injection needles of heroin addicts.

By Richard Shrubb

The government’s corrupt, silly stance on drug use has been shown up again with Victoria Atkins, the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, deciding that safe injecting rooms (SIRs) should still be banned despite evidence from around the world showing they are the best way forward.

Photo of Victoria Atkins MP

Victoria Atkins MP

Let’s break this down into its component parts. Shall we fly to Vancouver in Canada?

Vancouver SIR study

Published in 2006, a study looking at the benefits and pitfalls of having an SIR in Vancouver showed a raft of benefits for the public and drug users.

The first is that drug users had someone at hand to stop them dying from an overdose. You’ll probably guess that I’m a fan of prescribing injectable drugs as that kills off the drug lords. With organised crime involved, you can’t guess the strength of the shit you’re sticking in your arm. That’s why having someone available for immediate intervention is a very good thing.

More drug users asked for help to break their addiction. The report showed “These analyses suggested that amenities within the facility were responsible for increased uptake of addiction treatment …” That meant more people were getting help and ultimately the problem of heroin and cocaine addiction fell in the city.

The next point is something that the residents of Weymouth here in Dorset are up in arms about – needles being dumped in the street and even on the beach. The research showed this plummeted, as did the rather sickening problem of junkies sticking needles in their arms in public. That means fewer kids are at risk of getting blood-borne diseases when playing football on the street or playing on the beach (as happened with a 5 year old in 2017).

Research replicated

The best research can be repeated in another city and similar results can be shown. A report published by the Australian government of Victoria showed that, “There have not been any deaths from a drug overdose in any of the 90 Medically Supervised Injection Centres operating in the world. The first opened in 1986.” Referring to the SIR in Sydney it continued, “After around one million injections, there have been 6,500 drug overdoses but no one has died.”

UK government stance

As Feed the Birds often shows, rational thought often disappears in an irrational May government. On the 25th October the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones came out and said of the UK Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability’s refusal to consider SIRs here, “The minister’s job title is a joke because people who are caught up in problematic drug taking are undoubtedly vulnerable and she is doing nothing to safeguard them. Quite the reverse in fact.

“There is no question in my mind that people will die unnecessarily as a result of this short-sighted decision that is based on dogma and not on common sense.”

So there you go, the Minister for vulnerable people says let vulnerable drug users die in the street and let their HIV infected needles stick vulnerable young children. I bet she felt good about that one!


Richard Shrubb

Richard is a marijuana, water sports and electric vehicles writer based in Dorchester, Dorset. Living in Prince Charles model housing estate, Poundbury, he is an avowed republican, community and Labour Party activist. Visit his website at www.richardshrubb.com for more about what he does.

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