Dr McAuley makes case at Westminster for drug consumption facility

Wed, 08 May 2019 13:55:00 BST
Dr Andrew McAuley
Dr Andrew McAuley

MPs were told by a Glasgow Caledonian University researcher that Glasgow has one of the strongest cases in Europe for introducing a drug consumption facility in its city centre.

Dr Andrew McAuley joined other researchers and MPs at Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee on Tuesday as part of an inquiry into problematic drug use in the country.

Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership has supported the idea of a drug consumption facility, but moves to introduce one have been blocked by the Home Office.

Dr McAuley told MPs: "It's important to acknowledge Glasgow's case for a drug consumption room is arguably the most compelling in Europe for decades .

"The HIV outbreak, drug death epidemic, largest botulism outbreak Europe has ever seen − there's a whole host of reasons why Glasgow is a perfect case for the UK's first consumption room."

His appearance at the Committee follows a seven-year study by a team of blood-borne virus researchers, which revealed for the very first time the scale and drivers of the UK’s largest HIV outbreak in over 30 years in Glasgow.

Experts from GCU and Health Protection Scotland (HPS), working in collaboration with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the University of the West of Scotland, found that a significant rise in cocaine injecting in the city, which more than doubled between 2011-12 and 2017-18, in addition to homelessness and other key factors, combined to create a perfect storm for an HIV outbreak in 2015.

Dr McAuley, who is a Senior Research Fellow/Senior Epidemiologist in Blood-Borne Viruses at GCU and HPS, was the lead author of the research paper, which was published on April 10 in the prestigious Lancet HIV journal.