On 24 January 2018, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) confirmed that it was pressing ahead with plans to deliver a Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) facility in the city centre. This work continues while the HSCP maintains a dialogue with the Scottish Government on how best to progress a Safer Drug Consumption Facility (SCDF) in the city in order to tackle the ongoing HIV outbreak affecting people who inject drugs in public.
No legal exemption is required to provide a HAT programme which can legally be delivered within the framework of existing Medicines legislation. Correspondence received from the Lord Advocate further clarifies that a HAT facility could also operate a needle exchange scheme within the bounds of existing prosecution policy.
There is well-established international evidence of the cost-effectiveness of HAT for chronic Heroin user who have not benefited from other interventions. It is the next treatment progression for people for whom current treatments have been ineffective, and who continue to use street drugs, with all the risks that entails including injecting-related infections and overdose.
The programme is a highly specialised clinical intervention in which diamorphine is prescribed for the treatment of heroin addiction. It can only be undertaken by doctors with a licence allowing them to prescribe the medication.
Source: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde News Release, 24 January 2018