While the Scottish and UK governments are locked in a stand-off over drugs ‘fix rooms’, one man is taking matters into his own hands.
Drugs recovery worker Peter Krykant intends to open a safe consumption room in a van travelling around Glasgow.
Scotland is in the grips of a drugs crisis, with a record number of deaths last year, while two major summits were held last week.
The Scottish Government has been calling for powers to open a facility where users can take cocaine and heroin safely, but drug policy is not devolved and its requests have been rejected by the Home Office.
Mr Krykant said he had been left frustrated by the lack of new measures to tackle the crisis and plans to hit the road within three weeks.
Police Scotland said his plans would be illegal under the current Misuse of Drugs Act.
Mr Krykant said: “We’ve been talking about this for over four years. The initial proposal to set up a safer consumption room within Glasgow was in 2016 and that was blocked.
“It’s been continuously blocked, so we have to have some activism to move this forward.”
There are more than 150 drug consumption rooms around the world, with no reports of fatalities.
After an initial crowdfunding webpage was taken down, Mr Krykant has been raising money and spreading the word through social media.
He said: “We would be providing clean injecting equipment, clean sterile water and, most importantly, we would have [overdose treatment] naloxone kits.”
Mr Krykant said his commitment to the project had cost him his job, and said he was saddened that he felt forced to take drastic action.
He said: “If you want to come and arrest me for running an internationally recognised, evidence-based approach to reducing the harm’s caused by drugs and keeping people alive being a former injecting drug user and street homeless myself, you’ll need to come and do it.”
Police Scotland said Mr Krykant’s plans would “present challenges” under current drugs laws.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “Police Scotland is represented on the Glasgow City Alcohol and Drug Partnership and is committed to protecting the public health of both the wider community and those who are drug dependant.
“Only through effective partnership working can we continue to tackle complex public health issues in a holistic manner.
“Police Scotland has highlighted to the partnership that the plan for a safe injecting site will present challenges in terms of contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.”