INVERCLYDE'S MP is calling for a safe drug consumption room for local addicts - to reduce crime and prevent deaths.

Ronnie Cowan, who has consistently campaigned for radical drug law reform, says there has been a real shift in the attitudes of local people towards alternative treatment and reform.

He supports decriminalisation and believes drugs should be treated as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice matter.

It was revealed earlier this year that the area's drug deaths have doubled in the last ten years and MP Mr Cowan believes there is a public appetite for doing things differently.

He said: "I am really surprised by the conversations that we are having with people.

"I think the public's attitude locally has changed.

"It is very different now to it was a few years ago.

"Even those who are very critical of drug addicts recognise the need for change and those who don't give a damn see the financial sense in it.

"I believe in an evidence based approach.

"The evidence clearly shows that where you treat drug addiction as a public health issue, crime falls.

"The current system has failed."

Mr Cowan says he would like to see a safe room locally in Inverclyde where addicts could go.

But he added: "I think the indications are it would not be viable in Inverclyde first.

"There are other places it would be best to go.

"But once they are in one town, every town will want one.

"A scaled down version in Inverclyde is a possibility."

Glasgow's health and social care partnership had pursued a safe drug consumption room in the city but the move was blocked on legal grounds.

They are now pursuing a heroin assisted treatment room with a needle exchange instead.