A LEADING expert in alcohol and drug studies has warned that needle exchange centres should not be located in public areas with constant surveillance from security cameras and police.

Dr Iain McPhee, a senior lecturer at University of the West of Scotland, made the comments in response to the recent decision by Network Rail to close Scotland’s busiest needle exchange in Glasgow Central Station.

He said that the exchange – closed due to an addict overdose and discarded paraphernalia – should never have been based in an area with a strong police presence, which causes injectors to throw away used needles due to fear of arrest or discovery.

The closure of the exchange is currently under review by ScotRail Alliance after concerns from the Public Health Minister, Aileen Campbell, highlighted that it was contrary to the Government’s drug strategy.

McPhee said: “Drug users that are not yet known to drug services, the police, or even their families, live in constant fear of discovery.

“As we continue to create a barrier of fear for accessing clean, safe and manageable environments for taking drugs, we will continue to see unacceptably high death rates attributed to drug injecting.

“There will be more incidents such as those in Glasgow Central Station, with no safe place for injectors to access clean needles or inject outside of a public bathroom.”