Green Councillor Cleo Lake is calling for Bristol to launch a drug consumption room to give drug users a safer space with access to needles and specialist support.
In a motion to Bristol’s Full Council meeting next week, Councillor Lake will ask the Mayor to commit to delivering the recommendations of a study currently being undertaken by the Council’s substance misuse team. The Motion also calls for the Mayor to consider prescribing small regulated doses of heroin for those who have failed other treatments, as recommended by Public Health England.
Commenting Councillor Lake said:
“With drug related deaths on the increase in Bristol there is no time to waste. Encouraging heroin users off the streets will not only help to save lives, but also improve our communities and save us money. The evidence shows that these measures reduce deaths, blood borne diseases and hospital stays as well as reducing drug litter and community tension. They also make it more likely that people with drug problems will engage and stay engaged in treatment.”
Bristol resident Cara Lavan – partner of Jake Coe, who died of an accidental overdose - and campaigner for ‘Anyone’s Child’, an international network of families whose lives have been wrecked by current drug laws said:
“I warmly welcome this important motion, and urge the Mayor and all political parties to back it, as a first step towards a better drug policy for everyone in Bristol. Far too many people are needlessly dying from our failed drug laws. I believe that if Jake's drug use could’ve been treated as the medical issue that it was, rather than the criminal issue that it wasn’t, he would still be alive today."
Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire has also supported calls for drugs consumption rooms in Bristol. In a speech in Parliament calling for them to be looked into she said:
"We already have a drug consumption room in Bristol: it is called Bristol. It is called the square outside my office, the doorstep into my office and the blocks of council flats at the side of my office. It is called virtually every part of the city centre. If we want to give our health service more money, if we want to make our streets safer, and if we want to save the lives of people who have drug addictions, as I do, we need to invest in drug consumption rooms.”
- The Green Motion will be tabled to Full Council on Tuesday 20th March (full text below).
- Transform briefing on heroin assisted treatment: http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/heroin-assisted-treatment-hat-saving-lives-improving-health-reducing-crime
- Transform briefing on drug consumption rooms http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/supervised-injection-facilities-saving-lives-making-communities-safer-0
- Further information on Cara Lavan’s story can be found here: http://anyoneschild.org/cara/
- Anyone’s child: Families for safer drug control http://anyoneschild.org/about/
- Transform: http://www.tdpf.org.uk/
Green Motion to Full Council
Bristol Safer Drug Consumption Room and Heroin Assisted Treatment
Full Council notes that:
- Drug related deaths in Bristol have significantly increased over the past four years, with a record high of 37 individuals registered in 2016 according to the Office of National Statistics. In the latest figures for 2017, 41 people in Bristol have died from suspected drug related deaths, with 10 in October alone - the most ever recorded in a single month.
- Sharing needles puts people at risk of catching Blood Borne Viruses, most prominently HIV, hepatitis C (HCV) and hepatitis B (HBV). In Bristol 66.4% of injecting drug users have Hepatitis C - well above the national average.
- There is a widespread problem in Bristol with discarded needles and street drug use – impacting the public and business community.
- Street drug use and the resulting impacts have major cost implications for policing, public health, businesses and a range of council services.
- The government's expert advisory group - the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) - has called for both Safer Drug Consumption Rooms (DCR) and Heroin Assisted Treatment (where heroin is prescribed in a clinic). They note that the evidence demonstrates that these interventions reduce death rates, blood borne disease infections and other health problems, hospital stays, emergency call-outs, discarded drug litter, and street drug use. They also improve engagement and retention in treatment for otherwise difficult to reach vulnerable people, and do not lead to increased use.
- In its response to the ACMD, the Government recognised there is evidence supporting: “the effectiveness of drug consumption rooms in addressing the problems of public nuisance associated with open drug scenes, and in reducing health risks for drug users.” and that; “It is for local areas in the UK to consider, with those responsible for law enforcement, how best to deliver services to meet their local population needs.”
- Heroin Assisted Treatment is recommended for people for whom other forms of treatment have not worked, by Public Health England and in the Home Office Modern Crime Reduction Strategy. 44% of acquisitive crime is committed by dependent heroin users, and research from UK trials in Brighton, London and Darlington showed that Heroin Assisted Treatment can reduce acquisitive crime to pay for drug use by two-thirds. It can also cause a substantial fall in overall crime, and lead to a reduction in street dealing, and street sex work. It also reduces the profits organised criminals accrue from the heroin trade.
- The ACMD and numerous cost-benefit analyses have concluded that both Safer Drug Consumption Rooms and Heroin Assisted Treatment are cost effective. A business case carried out by the NHS in Glasgow in 2017 concluded a proposed facility there, combining both, would lead to millions of pounds worth of savings.
- A range of public service budgets stand to benefit from the positive impacts of Safer Drug Consumption Rooms and Heroin Assisted Treatment - including policing, ambulance services, the wider NHS, council waste services etc. Long term funding for the proposed Glasgow facilities will be drawn proportionately from all these areas to ensure that all contribute and benefit fairly.
Full Council believes that:
- Many of the most vulnerable people in Bristol are dying, while measures that have been shown to save both lives and money, and are recommended by the Government’s expert advisers, have not been fully considered.
- The evidence shows that Safer Drug Consumption Rooms and Heroin Assisted Treatment deliver significant health, social and economic benefits, not just to people who use drugs, but to the wider public and businesses. Implementing these measures has also been shown to deliver savings across health, crime and policing, business, parks and street cleaning, and other areas, that are substantially higher than the running costs. Therefore, on social and economic grounds, an assessment should be conducted as to the feasibility of delivering these measures in Bristol.
Full Council resolves to ask the Mayor:
- To publicly endorse the work of the Substance Misuse Team in carrying out a feasibility study in house to assess whether Heroin Assisted Treatment and/or a Safer Drug Consumption Room would have net benefits for Bristol as supported by Safer Bristol Executive at their meeting in January.
- To ensure that this study draws on existing research to assess the likely impacts on: drug related deaths, street drug use, discarded drug litter, anti-social behaviour, health, crime etc. It should also indicate which budgets, both within the council and beyond, would make cost-savings - e.g. policing, emergency services, hospital admissions etc. This is to identify stakeholders who could be asked to contribute financially, to ensure fair, long term funding that benefits all those involved.
- Most importantly, to commit to fully implementing the findings and recommendations of the feasibility study so that the people of Bristol benefit as soon as possible – especially our most vulnerable citizens.
Motion to be moved by: Cllr Cleo Lake
Bristol shoppers join worldwide campaign returning unnecessary plastic to supermarkets
This weekend Bristol shoppers and Greens joined campaigners from around the world in ‘plastic attacks’ to hand back their unneeded single use plastics to supermarkets across Bristol.
Letter: Bristol Cllrs must vote against the proposed airport expansion
We can all do our bit to help reduce the impact of climate change by choosing to walk and cycle more or fly less, but only politicians can make the big decisions that will decide whether our planet blossoms or burns. It is time they start treating climate change as the global emergency that it is.
Arena decision: Why are we letting austerity dictate how our city should grow?
You can’t shrink to greatness! But with the arena decision at cabinet last week that is what it feels like Bristol has done.
Bristol Greens to attend #RiseForClimate rally in Bristol – 8th September
Alongside organisations in Bristol and in cities around the world, Bristol Green Party members and elected representatives will be demanding urgent action on climate change by taking part in the #RiseForClimate rally in Bristol on 8th September.
Green Group Leader: Mayor's arena decision shows contempt for democracy
The day after he voted for a council motion supporting a Temple Meads location for Bristol's Arena, the city's Labour Mayor has scrapped the project altogether in a Cabinet meeting.
Opinion: Bristol wants the arena on Arena Island
Bristol Green Party's Deputy Coordinator writes for 24/7 about why the Mayor should listen and build the Arena on Arena Island.
Mayor should ‘abide by’ council vote for Arena location
A majority of cross-party councillors have taken the unusual step of calling an extraordinary Council meeting to vote on the location of Bristol’s Arena, and demanding that the Mayor ‘abides by’ the decision made. The Arena’s future was due to be decided by the Mayor on Sept 4th. However, amid growing accusations that the Mayor’s decision may be biased (1), councillors have called for a free vote. The letter to the Mayor includes signatures from a majority of councillors, including signatures from all four political parties.
Listen Again to Molly Scott Cato's speech at Bristol's People's Vote rally
Why Arena island is still the best location for Bristol's Arena
The Mayor’s own Value for Money study showed that the arena will pay for itself, will add no burden to the public purse, will not impact on council services and will leave the city with a significant asset. The Mayor has acknowledged on a number of occasions, and most recently on BBC Points West last Thursday, that an arena at Temple Island would be affordable for the city.
£5m cuts to special needs budget 'hidden' from Council
Bristol’s cabinet member for education and skills has been accused of misleading the council by hiding concerns around £5m of cuts to a special needs budget. A High Court judge has ruled that Bristol City Council did not properly consult over the cuts to the high needs block. Clive Stevens, Green councillor for Clifton Down, said: “It’s important that lessons are learned. The 2016 Bundred Review highlighted the need for councillors to be given clear information, but here in 2018 we had a £5m cut which was simply not shown in the budget papers." For the full article please see here>>
Checking the numbers on alternatives to the Bristol Arena
'Bristol deserves better than this' - Deputy group leader Jerome Thomas has a look at the numbers supporting the 'alternative development' at Temple Meads in place of an arena.
Green MEP to join People’s March rally in Bristol this Saturday
Green MEP for the South West and former Bristol West parliamentary candidate, Molly Scott Cato, will join a cross-party group of politicians and campaign groups at a rally in Bristol this Saturday calling for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal
Enough talk, time for action on plastics waste
Following the reports of huge amounts of unrecycled plastic waste left on the streets after St Paul’s Carnival, Greens are calling for the Council to make sure that lessons are learnt ahead of this weekend’s balloon festival. Green councillors also want Bristol Council to stop dragging its heels and implement a policy on plastics waste as soon as possible, including a ban on single-use plastics at council events.
Greens discuss arena, libraries, and racism on politics podcast
Catch up on the Green appearances on Bristol Live's local politics podcast.
Remove abandoned billboards that blight our city
A local Green councillor for Clifton Down in Bristol has successfully applied for an unsightly abandoned billboard on Whiteladies Road to be removed.
BBC must refuse airtime to organisations lacking funding transparency
In the wake of revelations that right-wing think tank, the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), offered potential US donors “cash for access” to Conservative ministers, Bristol's Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has launched a petition calling on the BBC to stop giving airtime to organisations whose funding is not transparent.
Help protect 20mph limits around your home
Press Release: “Help protect 20mph limits around your home” say Green Councillors
Bristol can’t wait decades for action on climate change
Following the hottest day so far this year, Bristol Green Councillors are calling for Bristol to take a leading role in tackling climate change, with clear action needed now if the city is to meet its carbon targets.
Why we need to preserve our 20mph city
The Green Party believes it is vital that we retain the 20mph limits in the city which have brought such benefits for huge areas of the city as a whole. 20mph is good for our safety, our environment and our health.
Exposing the ‘Mafia-like’ organisations behind Brexit
After Jacob Rees-Mogg accused the EU of acting like the Mafia, the criticism is reflected back on him by evidence gathered together in a new website called The Brexit Syndicate, which is launched today by Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato.
We need a 'People's Vote' on Brexit deal
Personally I feel very strongly about my rights as a European being taken away. My entire heritage is elsewhere in Europe and losing the right to visit, live or work across the travel area with my EU passport is distressing.
Group leader responds to the Mayor's Annual Speech
"We’ve heard a lot of beautiful words today, we keep hearing a lot of beautiful words, but the gulf between those words and the reality of the actions I see, and what people around me experience, is so huge that I can’t be silent"
Dangerous parking is putting people’s lives at risk
Green councillors are calling for urgent action to help communities who are suffering with dangerous parking problems, particularly in areas adjoining resident parking zones across the City. Greens have tabled a motion to the Full Council meeting taking place on Tuesday 17th July to urge the Mayor to make sure that communities have access to the support they need to sort out these local parking problems.
How can a Labour Mayor support airport expansion for the few, not the many?
In light of a new analysis showing that airport expansion disproportionally benefits the wealthiest in society, Green councillor Carla Denyer will ask Bristol’s Mayor to reconcile his contradictory views about climate change and airport expansion.
Greens call for ban on balloon releases
From Bristol 24/7: "Fresh calls have been made to introduce a city-wide ban on people releasing balloons or sky lanterns across Bristol."
Bristol Airport carbon targets worthless without roadmap, say Greens
Days before Bristol Airport’s consultation closes, a Green Party councillor has revealed that the Airport has no plan in place for delivering on its carbon goals.
Greens to Mayor: listen to Scrutiny on the Arena
"The future is not a destination, it is something we imagine, plan and build, and this decision is one with real impact for the shape of our future"
Bristol's MEP slams Tories & Labour over ‘climate wrecking’ decisions
Molly has condemned the government for its decision not to back the world’s first tidal power lagoon at Swansea Bay but, on the same day, give the green light to expand Heathrow airport.
Bristol Greens invite Labour MPs to oppose Heathrow expansion
Bristol Green Party are today inviting the city's Labour MPs to join them in a united opposition to the expansion of Heathrow Airport that would "smash" the UK's climate change efforts. The invite comes after Bristol North West MP Darren Jones tweeted his intention to abstain, stating "it doesn’t significantly impact Bristol, so I’ll be abstaining" despite an election commitment to local Green party supporters to meet with Bristol Green Party regularly to discuss environmental issues.
Everything falling into place for Arena Island
Green Councillors are delighted that the last week of scrutiny has demonstrated the case for an Arena in the central of Bristol.