Former addict praised for setting up safe space for injecting in city dubbed Europe’s drug deaths capital

It’s lunchtime on a sunny Friday and there are two queues on Glasgow’s Parnie Street. At Street Level Photoworks gallery, one group waits to enter an exhibition of the work of Oscar Marzaroli, famous for photographing the city’s postwar working classes amid social upheaval and division. Opposite, a line forms outside a white Ford Transit van emblazoned with “Safe Consumption” as some of the city centre’s drug-dependent population wait for access to take illegal drugs.

“It’s a lifesaver,” says one visitor to the van, which is kitted out with sterile seat and table covers, needle bins, injecting kits and Naloxone, used to reverse the effects of overdose. “Without it I’d be using a dirty alley and stepping all over broken glass and old needles.”

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