A new report which has just been published by the London Assembly's Health Committee argues that drug checking services should be provided in London, including at clubs and music events.
The London Assembly's health committee released a new report today (March 17), urging Mayor Sadiq Khan to cooperate with the government and police to develop a new strategy to combat drug fatalities in the city.
It comes as drug-related deaths in England and Wales remain at their highest level since comparable statistics started.
In England and Wales, about 3,000 individuals died as a result of drug abuse in 2020, with 296 fatalities in London.
The report argues that the Mayor should use his Drugs Commission to work with key partners to understand how to implement drug checking services in London. This type of checking should allow users to test the potency and contents of any substances they may be intending to use.
The main takeaway point from the report was that it urges the Government to introduce a national naloxone programme in England, bringing it in line with Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
It also asks the Mayor to collaborate with the Metropolitan Police Service to ensure that officers carry nasal naloxone spray on a regular basis since officers frequently come into contact with drug users who are in danger of overdosing.
In a press statement, Chair of the Health Committee, Caroline Russell AM, said: “Too many people are still dying from drug-related causes in London. We investigated how to address this tragedy and find out what practical, life-saving interventions could be used to reduce drug harm in our city.
“Our investigation found that naloxone could save someone’s life if it's used quickly after an opioid overdose. That is why we are urging the Mayor to ensure the Met routinely carry naloxone, a simple and proven way to reduce opioid deaths.
“Additional measures recommended in our report, such as a pilot for safe drug consumption rooms and the introduction of drug checking services, can start to bring down the growing numbers of people sadly losing their lives due to problematic drug use.”
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To read this report and the work that has gone into it, visit the London Assembly website here.
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter