ANGELA Constance has insisted she is pushing ahead with plans to introduce safe consumption rooms after her Government’s taskforce set up in response to Scotland's drug deaths crisis called for UK ministers to allow the facilities to operate.

The Drug Deaths Taskforce has set out its final recommendations and 139 specific actions to be taken by the Scottish and UK Governments.

Included in the actions is a call for the UK Government to “consider a legislative framework” to support the introduction of safe consumption rooms.

UK ministers are opposed to relaxing laws to pave the way for safe consumption rooms to be allowed to legally operate which potentially halts any attempt by the Scottish Government to do so.

But last month, the SNP’s Drugs Policy Minister told MSPs that Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership had been working on a proposal that would fit “within the constraints and limits of the currently reserved drugs law.”

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Chairman of the drug deaths taskforce, David Strang, said safe consumption rooms are not a “magic solution” but could help as part of a range of measures.

He added: “We believe that safer drug consumption facilities can be implemented now under the current legislation.

“We’ve worked closely with the Crown Office, the Lord Advocate, in trying to look at how can safer drug consumption facilities be implemented under the current legislation.”

Ms Constance, said that the Scottish Government is pursuing drug consumption rooms “because of international evidence” suggesting they are effective, despite the UK Government opposing their use.

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She said: “My interest here is not in engaging the UK Government on politics.

“My interest in terms of tackling Scotland’s drug deaths crisis is to engage with the UK Government on the evidence.

“The evidence across the world shows that safer drug consumption facilities work. They are not a silver bullet, but they are an opportunity to save lives.”

Asked if safe consumption rooms could be set up in Scotland under existing powers, Ms Constance said: “We have worked very hard to develop a proposition and we have looked at our existing powers very carefully and that proposition that has now been built with partners in Glasgow is now with the Crown Office.

“It will be for the Crown Office and ultimately the Lord Advocate to say whether safe drug consumption facilities can be delivered within the existing legal framework of Scotland.”