Around 75 people attended a public discussion on the drug deaths crisis co-hosted by Radical Independence Dundee and our sister group in Glasgow on Tuesday, which heard from drug safety campaigner Peter Krykant about his experience running the UK’s first-ever overdose prevention facility from a former ambulance in Glasgow without government approval or police permission, as well as his decision to run for a seat in the Scottish Parliament as an independent candidate in Falkirk.
Peter told the meeting: “This was always about a political push for change. What we firmly believe – the people that have been helping me and supporting me on this journey for the last year, the legal experts and the drug policy experts and the many normal, ordinary, everyday people who’ve looked into this – is that we do have a route to do this in Scotland without waiting for the UK government and Westminster to give us the green light to do so.
“It’s not that I’m not a fan of ‘radical independence’, but I’m not a fan of the word ‘radical’ when it comes to things like drug policy. This is not radical! We’re not asking for something radical to be done here. We’re asking for something that’s a health response to a health issue. That’s the simple reality of it.
“It’s a real honour and a privilege to talk to people from the Dundee movement because I know Dundee has the highest drug death rate potentially in the world per head of population, even higher than Glasgow. Where I’m focused on in Glasgow, somebody dies from a preventable drug death every 31 hours.
“Ultimately it’s not about people dying from drug deaths – our drug deaths are a systematic failure of society to deal with the underlying conditions and issues that people are faced with, in early childhood and growing up, the social poverty that people have experienced that leads them into those situations in the first place.”
The frank and wide-ranging discussion which followed Peter’s opening remarks touched on the failure of criminalisation, the roots of addiction in trauma and poverty, the challenges posed by the stigmatisation of drug users, and the limits of the devolution settlement in dealing with the drug deaths crisis. Those taking part in the discussion included local campaigners and healthcare workers, as well as councillors and election candidates from the SNP and the Labour Party.
A link to the fundraising page for Peter’s overdose prevention service was circulated multiple times via the Zoom chatbox during the discussion and attendees donated over £100 towards it. We strongly encourage our members and supporters to continue donating to Peter’s life-saving service.