Posted on: 29 June, 2022
At Cranstoun, we are passionate about the efficacy of overdose prevention centres in saving lives, and we are firm in our evidence-led belief that appropriate implementation will be a vital asset in reducing tragic levels of preventable drug-related deaths in Scotland.
This is not a panacea to eradicate the severe suffering of many in Scotland, but this is one node of a connected whole system approach to implement drugs policies rooted in health and not criminalisation. This will not only save lives but improve health and save taxpayer money.
In spite of rising drug deaths and the consequential furore and debate, action-based solutions have been lacking.
Cranstoun is coming to Scotland with evidence-backed solutions to tackle the drugs crisis that is plaguing communities. These solutions can happen now, and we implore the Scottish Government to act now.
Our Project Lead, Peter is the only person in the UK who has first-hand experience of operating such a centre, and his understanding in relation to the intricacies of how such services operate is indispensable in attempting to reduce harm to those people who use drugs. We must listen to these people
Overdose prevention centres have a number of fundamental benefits.
For starters, there have been zero recorded fatalities at such facilities anywhere in the world, whilst in Dundee alone an average of 63 die from drugs per year.
OPCs reduce the spread of blood-borne viruses, help practitioners to identify problematic trends and can help to alert people who use drugs when certain substances might be adulterated – this crucial information could save many more lives.
In addition to this, OPCs connect people using drugs with services that might be able to help them. Professionals might be able to assist with harm reduction strategies that reduce the harm to the person who is injecting drugs. People who use drugs could be trained in naloxone interventions, ensuring that peers are fully equipped.
Peer involvement in preventing overdoses is essential, and the reality must be recognised that services which operate with the inclusion of peers are more effective for a number of reasons.
There must be a whole system approach to addressing drug use. Professionals must listen to the people who will be using the services. If those using the services do not feel that their voices are being heard, then the model is flawed.
That is why Cranstoun is proposing a hybrid model, already piloted across the globe in various formats. This is effective, it is in no way less safe, and could arguably deliver better results.
The implementation of an overdose prevention centre must consider a number of factors to ensure safety, feasibility and crucially affordability. This is where a hybrid model provides scope for further investigation by being pilot.
It’s time for an OPC pilot in Dundee!