A leading addiction charity has backed the decriminalisation of drugs in Scotland and claimed the UK Government's objections to ‘safer injecting’ policy are not convincing.

Andrew Horne, director of Addaction in Scotland, made his comments as Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee publishes a report today which will call for Scotland to adopt a public health approach to problem drug use.

The Committee is calling on the UK government to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use and says the Department of Health and Social Care should take over lead responsibility for drugs policy from the Home Office.

The report - 'Problem Drug Use in Scotland' - also argues the government’s reasons for blocking proposals to introduce drug consumption rooms are “not convincing” and calls for devolved powers to allow plans for a safe drug consumption facility in Glasgow to proceed.

Andrew Horne, Director of Addaction in Scotland, said: "Trying to arrest our way out of problematic drug use has been a categorical failure, so it’s heartening to see momentum forming behind a health-focused approach. "People who develop problems with drugs need compassion and support, not punishment. I just hope the powers in Westminster are listening.”

Horne said there are 78 drug consumption rooms across Europe and between them they have never recorded a single overdose death. "The evidence shows that they reduce deaths, lower rates of infection and help people access support services," he said. “People are dying at record levels. It’s our job to do what works to keep them alive and help them access support.”