CALLS for legal drug cons-umption rooms (DCRs) have garnered cross-party backing as MPs back efforts to cut deaths and crime.

The Westminster government has repeatedly resisted requests to allow the UK’s first ever “fix room” to be established in Glasgow.

Authorities in Scotland’s biggest city say the plan, based on existing practice abroad, would take drugs and needles off the streets, help reduce HIV and other serious health problems, and give users a chance to access the support they need.

Now cross-party MPs have backed a new report calling for their introduction across the UK.

Tory, Labour and LibDem politicians have joined the SNP and Greens in supporting the set-up of the specialist facilities.

The move follows research by free market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute.

In an open letter to The Telegraph, they say: “Communities are being ripped apart, criminal networks are profiting, and thousands of people are dying every year.

“Drug consumption rooms (DCRs) are an evidence-based harm reduction intervention which allows people who use illicit drugs to do so within a medically supervised environment.”

The report argues that the UK has fallen behind Western nations in its approach to reducing drug harm.

Denmark, Spain and Switzerland are amongst 10 countries in which DCRs are already operating. The centres are aimed at hard-to-reach populations of drug users, including homeless people, those with severe mental illness and those most at risk of spreading diseases through needle use.

Medically trained staff work with users to reduce harm and sterile equipment is available to protect people from contracting conditions like HIV and hepatitis C.

According to a 2017 survey of DCR operators, 80% employed nurses or social workers within facilities. One-third employed health educators and others paid peer-workers, psychologists and case managers and students.

Around half had a doctor or similar clinician on-site.

There were 934 drug-related deaths registered in Scotland in 2017, up 66 – or 8% – on the previous year.

That – the most recent figure available – was the highest level since current records began in 1996 and is more than double the 445 deaths in 2007.

The statistics indicated that Scotland’s drug death rate is roughly two and half times that of the UK.

However, it is feared the 2018 figure may be higher and the 2017 total is almost 50 times that of Portugal.

It is estimated that preventing the 78 new cases of HIV contracted through the injection of drugs in Glasgow between 2015-16 could have saved £28 million over the course of their lifetime.

The Adam Smith Institute is calling on the UK Parliament to legalise the taking of controlled substances within such facilities in specified circumstances, or for the Home Office to pass control over this area to local councils.

The SNP’s Ronnie Cowan said: “The United Kingdom’s drug policy is deeply flawed.

“Drug consumption rooms are not just desirable but necessary as a key component to tackle problematic drug use in our society.”

Tory MP Crispin Blunt said: “Illicit drugs destroy communities, drive crime and cause deaths.

“Drug consumption rooms are a proven, evidence based approach to drug policy which minimises harm by providing a safe environment, clean needles, and access to healthcare and treatment services.

“To say that drug consumption rooms act as a ‘honeypot’ for drug users or incentivises drug use is once again the morally driven, unfounded opinion of those calling for a ‘tough on drugs’ policy which has created the dire situation we are in.”

Labour’s Jeff Smith added: “The Government must act to let drug consumption rooms be established where they are needed. We have to reduce the suffering and danger for addicts, and create a safer environment for the wider public.”

The UK Government says it has “no plans” to introduce drug consumption rooms or change the legal framework.

The Scottish Government is to convene a drug deaths taskforce.