California has backtracked on plans to open heroin shooting galleries over fears they will encourage illegal drug use.

Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a Bill that would have authorised ‘safe injection sites’ in three cities after a pilot scheme in San Francisco saw reports of children having to walk home from school past addicts injecting themselves.

In August, the Scottish Government said the introduction of officially sanctioned rooms for addicts to inject themselves would be a key part of its strategy to bring down drug deaths.

‘Misery and chaos’

Despite being an ardent supporter of so-called “harm reduction strategies”, Newsom stated that opening ‘safe injection sites’ risked causing “worsening drug consumption challenges”.

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Welcoming the Governor’s decision to block Senate Bill 57, Senator Scott Wilk said: “People struggling with addiction need help, not a legal place to shoot up.”

San Francisco Police Officers Association President, Tracy McCray, said that “sanctioned drug dens” created “misery and chaos for the residents and businesses forced to be next to these sites”.

People struggling with addiction need help, not a legal place to shoot up.

Pilot project

Critics linked a pilot project in San Francisco to an almost eight per cent rise in city-wide crime last year. Theft skyrocketed by 17.9 per cent over the same period.

Following the opening of a ‘safe drug consumption’ area in the Tenderloin neighbourhood of San Francisco, shocking images emerged of illegal drug use in public.

Recovering addict Ricci Wynne posted a video of school children on their way home walking past people injecting in streets near the facility.

Scottish Government

Earlier this month, the Scottish Drug Death Taskforce recommended that ‘supervised drug consumption facilities’, better known as ‘shooting galleries’, should be rolled out across Scotland.

In its report ‘Changing Lives’, the quango set up by the Scottish Government in 2019 also encouraged the “provision of drug paraphernalia” through “harm-reduction” services.

SNP Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance hailed the report as a “bold blueprint of what needs to be done” and said she was ‘committed’ to the controversial approach.

National Records of Scotland figures show that there were 1,330 drug-related deaths in 2021 — the second highest annual total on record, and the worst in Europe.