Brighton and Hove may become the first city in the UK to offer safe, clean environment for addicts to take drugs under expert supervision without fear of criminal consequences, if an interesting idea is taken up.
A recent report suggests drug consumption rooms could be considered in a city that was previously named as the drugs death capital of the UK in order to help reduce the number of deaths from substance misuse.
The Independent Drugs Commission for Brighton and Hove report, was drawn up after an investigation looking into how services can reduce the damage drugs cause to individuals involved.
Although Brighton and Hove has shed its title as the UK's drugs death capital, substance misuse in our city is still high. 67 residents died a drug-related death in 2000, with the figure now standing at circa 20.
Chairman of Brighton and Hove Council's adult care and health committee, Rob Jarrett, said: "Brighton and Hove has had a problem with drug abuse for decades and we're determined to do something about it so we take these recommendations very seriously."
Brighton and Hove's director of public health, Tom Scanlon, said: "We have a relatively high number of drug users in the city, and in the past we have had high numbers of drug-related deaths. So we welcome these recommendations and will work closely with key partners to make sure that the ideas in the report complement our work on helping people fully recover. We have come a long way from the peak in 2000 when 67 Brighton and Hove residents died from drug use. While this has fallen to 20 deaths, each of these still represents a personal tragedy for the person concerned and for families and friends."
In other countries the practice of consumption rooms is more established - over 90 are in existence in countries such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Norway and Canada.
However they are a controversial measure, with concerns that they may encourage drug use, delay treatment entry and aggravate problems among local drug markets.