The subject of introducing drug ‘shooting galleries’ to the UK is bound to provoke controversy, the arguments on both sides predictable.
Personally, I feel that any initiative that tackles drug addiction realistically, rather than a head in the sand ‘all drugs are terrible, ban them all’ approach must be welcomed.
On the other hand I see the introduction of ‘shooting galleries’ – safe, hygienic places to inject will not only fail to address the issue, that failure will be used by the strident ‘no drugs’ lobby as a stick to beat the reformers around the head with.
See, we tried and it did no good; let’s get more hard line instead’.
One of the problems is that all drugs, heroin in particular have a certain mystique/ritual.
There’s the scoring, the burning/shooting up and the effect.
The provision of ‘safe places’ undermines this mystique.
Perhaps my biggest concern over their likely failure however is the hope/expectations voiced that designated galleries will reduce/end the scourge of needles in parks and other public places.
I lived in Frankfurt, Germany for eight months where there is well-established shooting gallery provision and the parks were still full of needles – not just in the bushes but on the grass where kids played.
Galleries are a good thing, sure, but in isolation yet might actually make matters slightly worse in the long run.
Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove