The UK’s first mobile drug store opens in Bristol

The OPC founder said while in Glasgow it helped reverse a near-fatal overdose (Image: Transform Drug Policy Foundation/Getty)

A minibus that has been converted into the UK’s first mobile drug dispensary has arrived in Bristol.

The team behind the ‘Center for Overdose Prevention’ say they provide a hygienic space where people can take their medication while under the supervision of staff who know how to treat anyone who overdoses. dose.

But space is informal and Interior Office warned it was against the law.

OPC was founded in Glasgow by Peter Krykant, who says he and its staff helped monitor more than 1,000 injections by people using illegal drugs,
and treat multiple overdoses.

Now, it’s being launched in Bristol by the Modified Drugs Policy Foundation.

According to the most recent Bristol health and local government figures, there are almost 5,000 active drug and heroin users in the area – making it the second highest drug-dependent city in the UK. Brother.

In 2019, there were 41 drug-related deaths and 38 in 2020 – a rate of 8.9 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with the national average of 5.

Drug consumption spaces are popular attractions around the world but not in the UK.

Bristol is the second most drug-dependent city in the UK (Image: Getty Images Europe)
OPC launched in Bristol on Thursday (Image: Transform Drug Policy Foundation)

Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire first called on the Government to allow drug consumption spaces in 2017.

But as Bristol police, council and health authorities outlined a five-year plan to reduce drug use that would include drug dispensaries, they realized the law would need to be changed to prevent drug use. officially executed.

In September Cllr deputy mayor Asher Craig told the Bristol Government it would be interested in ‘piloting’ a drug consumption room – but the answer was no.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The Government has no plans to introduce drug consumption chambers in the UK.

‘A wide range of crimes would be committed in the operation of such a facility, by both service users and staff, such as possession of a controlled drug, in connection with the provision of a controlled drug, knowingly authorizes the supply of a controlled drug on the premises, or encourages or supports these and other violations.

‘Our approach to drugs remains clear – we must stop drug use in our communities, support people through treatment and recovery, and tackle drug supply illegal drugs.’

Inside the Center for Overdose Prevention (Image: Transform Drug Policy Foundation)

However, the OPC launched in Bristol has its backers.

Martin Powell, from the Transformational Drug Policy Foundation, said: ‘There is consistent evidence that they are effective at reducing harm and they provide local police with a mechanism to tackle drug use. drugs on the streets in a way that promotes public safety.

‘With the consent of the local police, Bristol can and should open a shop now with or without Government permission.’

Peter, who founded the OPC bus in 2020, says the sheer number of people already using it in Glasgow shows it’s needed.

‘When I started Overdose Prevention Services in 2020, it always
about showing that our drug laws are outdated and not fit for purpose.

‘However, given the scale of mass street injection, needles are thrown away,
death and other health problems, now we need the official website on
UK. That has to be Bristol,’ he said.

Bristol City Council has been contacted for comment.

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Huynh Nguyen

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