THE Scottish Conservatives have found themselves at odds with the UK Government over drug consumption rooms – with the party saying it was “happy” for the proposals to be tested.

It puts them on the other side of the debate from the Home Office, which has repeatedly insisted “there is no safe way to take illegal drugs” and remains opposed to the plans.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said he did not believe drug consumption rooms – where people can take illegal drugs in a safer environment without fear of prosecution – were a “silver bullet” to fix Scotland’s drug deaths crisis.

But he added he was “happy” to see the proposals explored and said the Lord Advocate’s announcement she did not believe it was in the public interest to prosecute people using drugs in a pilot facility – expected to be launched in Glasgow – meant the SNP “now have no excuses not to take this action”.

READ MORE: Drug consumption rooms given green light by top Government lawyer

In a statement, Ross said: “Today’s statement from the Lord Advocate confirms that the SNP government are able to proceed with a drugs-consumption room pilot should they wish.

“We still have significant reservations about the effectiveness of consumption rooms, but the SNP now have no excuses not to take this action that they have been demanding for so long.

“Scotland has by far the highest drugs death rate in Europe and this national emergency has spiralled out of control under the SNP.

“The Scottish Conservatives are happy for a variety of potential solutions to be looked at, even though we don’t think consumption rooms are the silver bullet ministers believe them to be.

“I would urge the SNP to back the Right to Recovery Bill, which focuses on treatment and rehab, and has the backing of experts in the field of addiction and those with lived experience.”

Responding to the Lord Advocate’s announcement, the Home Office said: “There is no safe way to take illegal drugs, which devastate lives, ruin families and damage communities and we have no plans to consider this. 

“We continue to share learnings from Project Adder with the Scottish Government and exchange insights from initiatives aimed at addressing drug use. We welcome these ongoing discussions.”

It is understood that the department considers the operation of a drug consumption facility inherently criminal and that Police Scotland’s operational independence does not preclude it from enforcing UK-wide drug laws.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour said the announcement was "welcome" while calling for more investment in rehabilitation services. 

The party's health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: "This is a welcome intervention from the Lord Advocate that will help lay the groundwork for the establishment of a safe consumption room in Glasgow.

“Scotland’s drug death crisis is a matter of national shame and Scottish Labour believes that drug consumption rooms will help to tackle the number of fatalities and keep people safe.

"It is welcome to see life-saving progress in this vital area being made without another pointless constitutional battle between Scotland's two failing governments.

“But this is only one part of the fight against drug deaths. We need to see the reversal of years of cuts to drug and alcohol beds to ensure those in need get the help they deserve.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish LibDems, added: "While the pilot discussed here may be more limited than what we would like to see in an ideal world, there can now be no excuses from the Scottish Government for failing to push ahead with a trial swiftly and urgently."