An MP is calling for a safe space for drug users where they can go without fear of arrest.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, is urging Sussex Police to consider having a space, potentially a van, where people can take drugs under the supervision of professionals who could intervene in the event of an overdose.

It comes after she visited the Cranstoun harm reduction ambulance, which visited Brighton for the charity’s social justice conference at the Hilton Metropole Hotel last month.

The Argus: Peter Krykant, Caroline Lucas, and the Cranstoun teamPeter Krykant, Caroline Lucas, and the Cranstoun team (Image: Cranstoun)

She saw the team's overdose prevention centre, a van which allows people to take their drugs without being arrested and with staff trained to help those who overdose.

Ms Lucas said: “It was inspiring to meet with the Cranstoun team, helping adults and young people who misuse drugs. Cranstoun’s support for overdose prevention centres would serve a vital role in allowing people to take their own drugs under the supervision of trained professionals, who can intervene in the event of an overdose.

“I’m hopeful that the police and organisations like Cranstoun could reach a memorandum of understanding whereby this crucial lifeline could be made available to help prevent people from taking drugs on the streets and put them on a path to recovery.”

The Argus:

In 2021, Brighton and Hove had 31 deaths related to drug misuse, making it the capital for drug-related deaths in the South East, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In 2017 Ms Lucas suggested "shooting galleries" for drug users, a place where heroin and other drug users could take drugs without fear of prosecution.

The Argus: Peter Krykant, left, and Caroline Lucas, rightPeter Krykant, left, and Caroline Lucas, right (Image: Cranstoun)

A similar scheme is already in place in Scotland, led by former Brighton resident Peter Krykant, who made international news when he set up his first “safe consumption” ambulance in Glasgow.

Charlie Mack, chief executive of Cranstoun, said: “More than 200 Overdose Prevention Centres exist in 16 countries and the overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that these are proven not only to save lives and reduce crime but also to reduce blood-borne viruses and connect people with complex needs to service providers for further support.

“Deaths related to drug use in the UK are the highest in Europe - significantly. In the UK, numbers of people who die are three times higher than the second country on the list, Germany. Deaths have risen year on year for nine years with drug death numbers higher than fatalities on the road and knife crime combined.

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"Behind each statistic is a life, a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a family member. Over 5,000 people lose their lives needlessly.

“Opening an Overdose Prevention Centre does not require our laws to be changed. We simply need the support of a local police and crime commissioner and the local authority.

“We are delighted that Caroline Lucas came to visit our community-based harm reduction vehicle.

“At Cranstoun we urge all politicians to support the introduction of local Overdose Prevention Centres because every life matters.”