Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Drugs charity pinpoints used needle locations in Torquay and Bristol

More than 1000 needles were recovered in an 18 month period across the Torbay area and in Bristol Credit: PA

There are fresh warnings about the huge scale of the West Country's drugs problem.

It follows the publication of maps which reveal that thousands of needles were discovered across heroin hot-spots of Bristol and the Torbay area in recent months.

Drugs charity Transform, which has a base in Bristol, used Freedom of Information requests to show exactly where discarded needles were found.

Campaigners say this is only a snapshot of the bigger picture and are calling on local and national government's to set up drugs consumption rooms - safe places where addicts can go to inject.

1,098
The number of needles recovered in Bristol over an 18 month period.
Heat map showing the concentration of needles found in Bristol (Source:Transform) Credit: ITV West Country

Bristol faces unique challenges in relation to drug use and harm, with death rates there more than 60% higher than the national average.

In the 18 months to last September, more than one thousand needles were recovered in total.

More than half came from the centre, but the east of the city and the south had more than 300 between them, and nearly 50 were found in the north.

1,100
More than 1,100 needles were recovered in the Torbay area over an 18 month period.
Heat map showing the concentration of needles found in Torbay area (Source:Transform) Credit: ITV News West Country
'Consumption rooms' are operating in other European countries. Credit: PA

Transform believes that the government must recognise the scale of the problem in order to remove drug taking from public areas, where needles are so easy to find.

That is why the charity is advocating the introduction of 'drugs consumption rooms', in which addicts can inject themselves under supervision, as a new approach to harm reduction.

These safe spaces are already operating across mainland Europe and Transform has teamed up with partners in Bristol to open up an imitation consumption room for the next few days, as part of a series of free public events.

[We need to] treat drug- taking as a health issue and bring people into places like safer drug consumption rooms.

There we can start to get them into treatment with a long term view of many of these people moving on in their lives and ultimately coming off heroine altogether.

These are people that need love and support. The last thing they need is being treated as criminals and thrown into dark corners.

– Martin Powell, Transfrom

For help with drug problems you can contact the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600.

You can also contact the police on 101 or in an emergency call 999.