UK’s First ‘Overdose Prevention Centre’ Comes to Llanelli for Drug Death Memorial

The UK’s first operational Overdose Prevention Centre (OPC) (also known as Supervised Drug Consumption Room) is coming to Llanelli Town Centre on 14th March 2022 to showcase what one could look like locally. This OPC, in an ambulance, was used to supervise over 1000 injections by people using illegal drugs in Glasgow and treat multiple overdoses, despite opposition from the UK Government. There will also be a memorial to remember people who have died as a result of drugs led by local bereaved families from the Anyone’s Child campaign.

Where: Llanelli Town Centre (Central Square, Vaughan Street) @ 13:30 – 16: 00

What:

The UK’s first Overdose Prevention Centre (OPC), a converted ambulance that previously operated in Glasgow will be open to the public

A memorial of 3335 hand-made forget-me-not flowers will be laid

for the people who died from drugs last year in the UK

Peter Krykant, who ran the OPC will be available for interviews

Local families who have lost loved ones to drugs are available for comment

OPCs are hygienic spaces where instead of injecting in the street, people use their drugs while supervised by staff trained to treat any overdoses. They provide sterile needles, basic healthcare and can refer people to drug treatment and other services.

Public and press are invited to see inside the Overdose Prevention Centre and learn how it works. They will be met by families from Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control, who will lay 4335 homemade forget-me-not flowers and give speeches as a memorial event to mark the lives of those who have been lost to our failed drugs laws in the last year.

Regional data:

194 people have died in Carmarthenshire from drug misuse since 1993

Carmarthenshire’s drug misuse death rate is 5.4, higher than England’s average of 5

Martin Powell, Transform Drug Policy Foundation:

“Over 150 Overdose Prevention Centres operate worldwide. There is consistent evidence they are effective in reducing harms, and that they give local police a mechanism to address street injection drug use in a way that promotes public safety. With the agreement of local police, Llanelli can, and should, open one now – with or without Government permission.”

Peter Krykant, now of Cranstoun:

“When I started the Overdose Prevention Service in 2020 it was always about showing that our drug laws are outdated and not fit for purpose. Little did I know we would gain national and international support. Operating four days a week, and supervising around five injections per hour as well as helping reverse a number of overdoses that could have been fatal, we achieved a lot. However given the scale of mass street injecting, discarded needles, deaths and other health issues, we now need official sites across the UK. That must include Llanelli.”

Pat Hudson, Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control, whose son Kevin died in a locked toilet in Carmarthen town centre in Dec 2017:

“With the UK experiencing record levels of overdose deaths we need to start introducing innovative harm reduction measures, like Peter’s van, to stop our loved ones from dying. No-one has ever died in an Overdose Prevention Centre. I believe my son would be alive today, and several of his friends, had there been such a centre here in Carmarthen: somewhere safe for him to go. Even in a small community like ours, an Overdose Prevention Centre would save several lives every year. It would also provide advice to those concerned about their drug use and help to break down the stigma that limits the effectiveness of other harm reduction measures.”

Caroline Phipps, CEO of Barod:

“We are constantly exploring different interventions and services that can help reduce drug-related-deaths and other associated harms within our communities, and this event provides a great chance to view and discuss a unique facility that is not currently in operation in the U.K. We’d like to thank Transform for providing this opportunity and bringing the Overdose Prevention Service to Llanelli”.

 

 

Editor

From Llanelli Wales. Worked in education and media for most of my career. Now working as a freelance journalist. Interested in World events, politics, education. Specialist area is social and journalistic photography.
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