MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS: Needles on the streets - Manchester city centre's heroin addiction

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 22/2/2018

Description

Dr Tim Millar, a drugs specialist at Manchester university’s division of psychology and mental health, has spent his career studying opiate use and believes the rooms are worth looking at.

He points out the latest estimates - which only go up to 2014/15 - show the overall use of heroin and similar drugs in Manchester has stayed relatively static. The current problems are specifically linked to the city’s growing rough sleeping crisis, he says.

“This is about a visibility of a specific of homeless heroin users, which has increased because homelessness is increasing,” he says.

“I think there’s evidence that suggests drug consumption rooms can reduce risks and the associated effects on the surrounding community, so long as they are targeted at a specific group of vulnerable people who haven’t got anywhere else to use.

“If they are using in a safe space, their injecting paraphernalia will be safely disposed of and they can be observed periodically and action taken if they show signs of overdose - which may not happen if they are heading somewhere outside where they won’t be found if they OD.

“I certainly think it’s worth having that conversation about whether user rooms might help in our particular context.”

Media contributions

TitleNeedles on the streets - Manchester city centre's heroin addiction
Media name/outletManchester Evening News
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date22/02/18
DescriptionDr Tim Millar, a drugs specialist at Manchester university’s division of psychology and mental health, has spent his career studying opiate use and believes the rooms are worth looking at.

He points out the latest estimates - which only go up to 2014/15 - show the overall use of heroin and similar drugs in Manchester has stayed relatively static. The current problems are specifically linked to the city’s growing rough sleeping crisis, he says.

“This is about a visibility of a specific of homeless heroin users, which has increased because homelessness is increasing,” he says.

“I think there’s evidence that suggests drug consumption rooms can reduce risks and the associated effects on the surrounding community, so long as they are targeted at a specific group of vulnerable people who haven’t got anywhere else to use.

“If they are using in a safe space, their injecting paraphernalia will be safely disposed of and they can be observed periodically and action taken if they show signs of overdose - which may not happen if they are heading somewhere outside where they won’t be found if they OD.

“I certainly think it’s worth having that conversation about whether user rooms might help in our particular context.”
URLhttps://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/needles-streets-manchester-city-centres-14325464
PersonsTimothy Millar