An MP is under fire for calling for a safe space where users can take drugs without fear of arrest.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, made the plea to Sussex Police after seeing a charity's "harm reduction ambulance".

The ambulance is a safe place where people can take drugs under the supervision of professionals who can intervene in the event of an overdose.

But city councillor Dawn Barnett said Ms Lucas had "lost the plot".

The Argus: Caroline Lucas (centre left) and the Cranstoun teamCaroline Lucas (centre left) and the Cranstoun team (Image: Cranstoun)

Conservative Cllr Barnett, who represents Hangleton and Knoll, said: “I detest drugs and rather than encouraging it we should be doing more to stop drugs.

"I’m not so keen on the idea of a van coming around which allows people to use drugs.

“It wasn’t long ago when Lucas wanted to suggest shooting galleries for drug users – I don’t agree with this. Caroline Lucas has lost the plot.

“I want to see drugs off the streets. All this is doing is giving them a safe place, but it’s not discouraging them from doing it.

“I think the van should have a coffin drawn on it, as that’s where they will all end up.”

Ms Lucas made her plea after she visited the Cranstoun harm reduction ambulance which visited Brighton for the charity’s social justice conference in the Hilton Metropole Hotel last month.

She said: “This crucial lifeline would help prevent people from taking drugs on the streets, and put them on a path to recovery.”

The Argus: Dawn BarnettDawn Barnett (Image: The Argus)

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.

More than 200 overdose prevention centres exist in 16 countries.

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The Argus: Andy WinterAndy Winter

But Andy Winter, who worked for over 30 years to support drug addicts in Brighton and Hove, said: “Let’s be clear. This vehicle won’t provide ‘treatment’. It won’t help people to stop using. It is designed to minimise harm but will make little, if any, difference to the drug problems of Brighton and Hove.

“I hope that absolutely no public funds will be wasted on this, same-old, same-old approach.

“The discredited ‘drug consumption rooms’ concept is being repackaged as ‘Overdose Prevention Centres’. Why do those who make perennial calls for such facilities never make clear and unambiguous calls for abstinence-based treatment?

“There are not nearly enough high-quality, abstinence-based residential facilities that do make a difference, and help people to live drug-free lives.”