Pubdate: Sat, 22 Jun 2013
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2013 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Ben James


A drugs panel -- including Sussex's police commissioner -- has slammed
suggestions Brighton and Hove should introduce shooting galleries for

The comments come just weeks after Brighton and Hove City Council
launched a feasibility study into the proposal.

Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said the
independent report, which championed the scheme among a host of other
options, had done a "huge disservice" to the debate surrounding
addiction in the city.

Speaking at the Drugs and Alcohol Today conference, the veteran social
worker said the report had put the debate back "five or ten years"
adding "the sooner we forget about it the better".

Quit In March this year the Independent Drug Commission for Brighton
and Hove, which was created by Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, suggested
the city consider introducing drug consumption rooms.

The facilities, which are already used in a number of countries
including Germany, Canada and Denmark, operate by allowing addicts to
take drugs in a safe and sterile environment free from fear of

The rooms would be staffed by nurses to prevent overdoses and would
feature information and help for those wanting to quit.

Despite the controversy surrounding the scheme, the council's health
and wellbeing committee has voted to launch a feasibility study into
the rooms.

However, a panel at the Drugs and Alcohol Today conference, held at
the Amex this week, spoke out against the plans with the majority of
the two hundred delegates in agreement.

Panel member and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne,
said: "The problem I have is that you are effectively asking the
police to turn a blind eye.

"If someone has a drug in their pocket going into this centre, then
that is illegal."

Nick Smart, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust, said
that the proposal had provided the media with a talking point without
exploring the more pressing problems with addiction.

He added: "The debate is more complex than that."

However it was Mr Winter who was the proposal's biggest critic.

He said: "I think there is an issue of priorities when we want to do
something far more positive with addiction and recovery."

The result of the feasibility study will be reported back to the
council later in the year.
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