Peter Krykant welcomes £250m Scottish Government pledge to tackle drug deaths crisis

An activist has hailed the Scottish Government’s pledge to spend £250 million to tackle the “national disgrace” of drug-related deaths.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 21st January 2021, 1:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st January 2021, 2:30 pm

Peter Krykant (44), from Maddiston, welcomed a plan that will see £50m invested each year over the next Holyrood term to address the crisis.

More than 1200 people died of drug misuse in Scotland in 2019 – the worst rate in Europe.

Having discussed the subject with Nicola Sturgeon earlier this month, Mr Krykant was pleased to hear the First Minister commit to deal with the issue in Parliament yesterday and has since held further productive talks with Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance.

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Peter Krykant, who modified a minibus into a facility where he says addicts can safely take drugs under supervision, has welcomed the Scottish Government's pledge to tackle the country's drug deaths crisis. Picture: John Devlin.

He said: “I don’t think we could’ve expected any more.

“The amount of funding and the commitment to invest that over the next five years is absolutely fantastic.”

The Larbert resident, who is a recovering heroin addict, has been leading a campaign to make overdose prevention centres legal in Scotland.

However, the most important step in the battle against drug deaths, in his opinion, is ensuring users are given access to treatment as quickly as possible.

He was heartened by the First Minister’s assurances the Scottish Government – should the SNP win May’s election – will take on board his suggestions and provide same-day prescriptions, offer heroin-assisted treatment and open extra placements in residential rehab.

Mr Krykant said: “The wider rollout of heroin-assisted treatment throughout Scotland, quick implementation of same-day prescribing – these are great things.

“We just need to get those implemented now and it’s about getting that in place as quickly as possible as that’s the main reason people are dying.

“Regulations need to be implemented on heroin-assisted treatment. At the moment there’s only access for 20 people and that’s only in Glasgow.

“If they’re going to get same-day prescribing in place, we either need NHS prescribers sitting inside third sector organisations, like Change Grow Live, where somebody goes for a first assessment, or we allow the third sector to start implementing medical prescribing.

“There’s a commitment to increase funding in residential rehabilitation funding.

“I’m really encouraged by what the First Minister said. When I spoke to her about that, I said we should be looking at residential rehab closer to people’s communities. Somebody living in Falkirk shouldn’t be going down to the Borders and removed from society.

“Falkirk is where they should be building their skill base. It’s all about integration in the community. We need to look at much more structured residential rehab and the First Minister mentioned that in her statement.”

He continued: “I’m being listened to and heard.

“I come from a completely non-partisan stance and I think that’s why I’ve already had two meetings with the Minister for Drugs Policy.

“Angela Constance is keen to see anything implemented that can quickly get these things in place.

“I’ve no financial gain in this. I simply want to see the best processes in place to get people off illicit drugs because that’s what kills people as nobody knows what’s in them.

“If somebody wants off these drugs, they should be offered medication there and then.”

With promises made and a plan outlined, Mr Krykant revealed his optimism and said: “It feels, for the first time, we’ve got the funding and equipment.

“They’ve put up the money. We just need action now.”

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