Response to National Records of Scotland homelessness death figures published on Wednesday 5 February 2020
A spokeswoman for Glasgow's Health & Social Care Partnership said: "Tragically, many of our service users who died had previous or existing addiction issues, some also had significant physical and mental health needs. It is the complexity of those needs, which often contributed to their deaths, rather than specific matters associated with their housing status.
"Sadly, Scotland and Glasgow is experiencing a drugs deaths crisis - which includes record numbers of fatal overdoses and a rise in HIV infections. Some people known to homeless services are among those who have lost their lives - mainly in temporary accommodation or hospitals. This can be emotionally difficult for other residents and staff who work closely with service users often on a daily basis.
"All our homeless services are provided with Naloxone kits which can be used in the event of an overdose to revive someone while the emergency services are en-route. Free Naloxone kits and training are also available to friends and relatives of people known to have drug addiction problems in Glasgow.
"In just four months last year, at the city's Winter Night Shelter, Naloxone was used 17 times to revive people experiencing an overdose. This starkly demonstrates the extent of the health emergency the city is facing.
"The city's Housing First programme is helping homeless people with complex needs access mainstream tenancies quickly with wrap-around support to help them to sustain their tenancies. Currently 98 formerly homeless people have secured Housing First tenancies in the city, since the initiative began in September 2018. The majority of these tenancies have been maintained with additional support reflecting our commitment to those with the greatest needs."
Glasgow recently opened an Enhanced Drug Treatment Service - the first of its kind in Scotland - offering a small number of patients with long standing addictions issues, treatment with pharmaceutical grade diamorphine. In addition to this pioneering Heroin Assisted Treatment, the city is also lobbying Westminster for a change in the law to enable it to open a Safer Drug Consumption Facility (SDCF).
Considerable evidence from other countries has shown that a facility of this type can help save lives by providing a safe, clean place for people to take their own drugs - reducing the risk of overdose, reducing the risk of blood borne viruses such as HIV and providing hard-to-reach people with access to a wide range of treatment and support. Such a facility would be staffed by medical professionals and would also help reduce the number of needles discarded by people who inject in public places.