The Hepatitis C Trust welcomes Labour Party support for drug consumption rooms

The Labour Party this week announced it will support piloting drug consumption rooms (DCRs) to reduce the number of drug-related deaths in the UK.

DCRs are already present in seven European countries including Germany, Spain and France.

Advocates of DCRs argue that the Government should prioritise a public health approach to drug use, focused on improving health outcomes for drug users.

Last year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Liver Health, supported by The Hepatitis C Trust as the group’s secretariat, called for the Government to consider implementing drug consumption rooms to prevent the transmission of hepatitis C in its Eliminating Hepatitis C in England report. Hepatitis C is most commonly passed-on by the sharing of equipment by people who inject drugs.

Rachel Halford, CEO of The Hepatitis C Trust, responded to the news saying: “This is a really positive development. By supplying clean equipment and a safe environment, drug consumption rooms would dramatically reduce the risk of transmission of hepatitis C as well as other blood-borne viruses. I hope that the Government will recognise the growing support for drug consumption rooms as a way of preventing further drug-related harm.”

Members of the Scottish Parliament previously voted to introduce a DCR in Glasgow to address rising drug-related deaths and rising rates of infection from HIV. However, the Home Office blocked the proposal despite recognising the health benefits of DCRs.