Drugs crusader Peter Krykant is seeking to set up an Overdose Prevention Center in Scotland’s worst drug deaths blackspot.
Krykant, who won international renown for his unofficial drugs van in Glasgow, was in the city yesterday seeking locations for facilities he believes can save lives.
I have found areas with the same drug debris in dingy alleyways. In one location I have found a spoon used to “cook up” heroin and a used dose of naloxone, the drug used to counter opiate overdoses.
READ MORE: Drugs minister reads riot act on local authority bosses after damning verdict on Scotland’s “disaster” drugs strategy
Dundee has the highest long-term death rate per head of any council area in Scotland – an average of 43.1 per 100,000 people between 2016 and 2020, or an average of 63 deaths each year.
Recovering addict Krykant said: “In a nutshell, I’d like to see proper urgency shown to set up services that almost everyone in Scotland supports.
“If we could be shown the green light, we could have facilities in Dundee that would provide a safe Overdose Prevention Centre, with full nursing support and peer involvement in its running.
”This could mean that people who are connected with the drug taking community can advise on what will work, on what the drug taking trends are and in administering naloxone.
“The obvious benefit of this would be allowing trusted people, with genuine knowledge, the chance to make a massive step forward into employment and meaningful lives.
“It would also make very good sense to use their relevant knowledge to give a head start in what works and what does not.”
Krykant said as well as saving lives with his overdose prevention work he hopes to help addicts overcome stigma and get into employment.
He said: “We have very prominent organizations who boast of using people in recovery but they insist on those people being drug free for two years.
“That is effectively telling them they aren’t worth a job, that they can’t be trusted.
“But we know that to be untrue and unfair, as many people who are on stable medication have a lot to offer.
“We keep hearing about radical measures to get us out of the crisis but we have yet to see any truly radical action.
“All I am proposing now is to take best practice ideas from countries like Switzerland and apply them to Scotland, which has worse drug problems than any other European nation.”
Krykant believes the key to real change may lie with paying a proper wage to recovering addicts, whose lives are stabilized on opiate replacement treatments like methadone or buprenorphine.
He believes a third sector organisation, like his employer the drug charity Cranstoun, could provide a full range of services for less than half of the cost of the NHS in Scotland.
This week he will have talks with Scotland’s drugs minister Angela Constance, as well as prominent MSPs at Holyrood, to explain his plans.
Angela Constance last week said Scotland’s Crown Office is examining proposals to open an overdose prevention facility, which would have to be sanctioned by our top law officer, the Lord Advocate.
That initiative was discussed midway through a debate on MAT Standards – the system of drug treatment that hinges on same day appointments for anyone who asks for them.
The MAT Standards delivery was branded “a disaster” and “a pipe dream” in Parliament – with only one health board meeting the vital targets by April this year.
Angela Constance angrily responded to the findings of a Public Health Scotland report by issuing Ministerial Directions to the bosses and bodies responsible for delivering services.
She is furious that cash assigned to MAT Standards appears not to have been spent.
Krykant said Scotland’s treatment system, as it stands, is broken.
He said: “Our treatment regimen is absolutely broken. There is no way that we will be able to move forward until we sort out front line delivery.”
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