A fresh appeal has been made for the UK Government to reconsider its rejection of a safe heroin injecting centre in Glasgow.

Council leader Susan Aitken and city convener for health and social care, Mhairi Hunter, responded to the Home Office following its refusal of the policy.

It only just preceded the announcement that Scotland has the highest drug-related death rates in Europe – around 30 per cent are in Glasgow.

A safer drugs consumption facility (SDCF) would help tackle the problem that killed more than 200 in the city last year, its proponents believe.

The letter to Victoria Atkins MP, Under Secretary of State for Crime, stated: “We note that other countries have successfully introduced DCRs within strict legislative frameworks similar to those that operate in the UK.”

The UK Government had referred to addicts travelling from Sweden to Jutland, Denmark, to use a similar clinic.

But the councillors told how the chance of people travelling to Glasgow for the facility was unlikely due to the low income and homeless demographic that would use it.

No change to the current laws concerning supply of heroin is being sought by the council.

Special training and strict protocols will be in place for staff working in the centre.

Given the rise in drug deaths, all parties in the council are supportive of the plan.

In 2017, 934 drug-related deaths were recorded in Scotland, an eight per cent increase on 2016.

The figure is going up and up every year on average since 1997, when just 200 deaths were recorded.

The overwhelming majority are related to heroin, according to the National Records of Scotland.

Ms Hunter and Ms Aitken’s letter added: “In terms of day to day ethical dilemmas, clinicians employed in such a service will have considerable experience of working with drug users and will operate within their existing codes of professional practice.

“We have around 30 years of experience within Glasgow of running needle exchanges, opiate replacement therapy and outreach services to drug users, and therefore a significant body of existing knowledge, experience and transferrable skills.”

At a recent council meeting, Ms Hunter said: “[The letter] from the Home Office was actually a lot more positive than it might have first appeared... I think the first time we’ve seen the Home Office acknowledge the benefits of the facility.”