Figures have revealed the areas of Glasgow where reports of discarded needles are highest – with most concern in the city centre.
Worried residents flagged up discarded needles in the Anderston/City/Yorkhill ward on 234 occasions, over 200 times more than in any other ward.
Reports to the council over needles/sharps/blood rose between April and September this year, when compared to the same period in 2018. There were 400 reports across the city, up from 368 last year.
Drug deaths in Glasgow are soaring, with 280 lives lost to substance abuse in 2018, compared to 192 in 2017 and 94 in 2010.
Politicians in the city are calling for a Safer Drug Consumption Room.
However, the UK Government has refused to amend drug laws to allow the city to set up a room, stating it will not allow anything that supports the illegal trade in drugs.
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Needles discarded in public places create understandable concern and we will always respond rapidly to reports of this kind.
“Anyone who encounters a discarded needle in a public place should contact us immediately and we will ensure it is disposed of safely.”
Figures, presented to councillors, show the number of reports received by the council from wards across the city.
The Anderston/City/Yorkhill ward figure is actually lower than in 2018, when there was 255 reports. However, there was a rise in Hillhead, from 20 to 30, and a small increase in Southside Central, from 22 to 24.
In Dennistoun, the number of reports increased from two to 20.
“Sadly, it is not a surprise that the central area of the city generates the most requests for assistance. ”
Glasgow City Council
However, in Govan they fell from 19 to 11. The Garscadden/Scotstounhill rose from six to 10, North East went from one to nine and Pollokshields changed from six between April and September in 2018 to eight in the same period this year.
The council spokesman said: “Sadly, it is not a surprise that the central area of the city generates the most requests for assistance.
“Research has shown that up to 500 individuals are known to inject publicly in the city centre on a regular basis.
“However, as part of Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, we have recently opened the Enhanced Drug Treatment Service, which seeks to address the addiction issues of some of the city’s most chaotic drugs users.
“It is anticipated that this service will help to reduce to drug-related litter in affected communities.
“Glasgow is also striving to create a Safer Drug Consumption Facility, which would help to ensure that drug paraphernalia is disposed of correctly.
“Unfortunately, legislative change is required before Glasgow can create a such a pioneering facility, which would also reduce the number of overdoses and help cut blood borne diseases.”
The £1.2m Enhanced Drug Treatment facility will give medical grade heroin to the city’s most problematic drug users, treating those who are in danger of a fatal overdose, HIV and Hepatitis C.
It is located to the east of the city centre in an area where there is a serious problem with outdoor drug injecting, and expects to treat 20 patients in the first year.
Story by local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands