A DRUGS campaigner who operates a safe consumption space in Glasgow has announced he will run for a seat in the Scottish Parliament at the upcoming election.

With help from trained volunteers Peter Krykant launched a mobile overdose prevention facility this year, giving drug users in the city a safe space to inject. The group have been credited with saving lives thanks to their supply of clean needles and overdose-preventing naloxone.

Scotland has the worst drug death rate in Europe with more than 1200 people dying of drug misuse in 2019, according to the latest figures.

Attempts to legalise safe drug facilities in Glasgow and across Scotland have been unsuccessful, with the UK Government rejecting calls to decriminalise drugs.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson is all wrong about drugs – legalisation reduces harms

Krykant wants to see the Scottish Government doing more to make safe consumption a reality, arguing that the Lord Advocate can provide legal cover for the spaces with a “letter of comfort” to allow services to run without fear of criminal prosecution.

The campaigner will meet with the First Minister and her Minister for Drug Policy Angela Constance next week to discuss the matter further, but has now decided to get involved in politics himself.

Krykant is putting in a nomination run as an independent MSP for Falkirk East, where he was born and raised.

“I think given the fact that my campaign has been such a public campaign, it’s really put me in a position where I think I have the connections now and social media following to potentially run a half-decent campaign,” he told The National.

READ MORE: Safe drug spaces in Scotland? First Minister to meet with activist Peter Krykant

“I think we need a range of different voices in the Scottish Parliament. I think the Scottish Parliament was set up with the idea that it’s going to be a parliament of diversity, people from all walks of life are going to be able to actually represent their constituencies and I don’t think that’s truly come to fruition.”

The activist says with the backing of his family, support for his campaigning and a good understanding of what’s going in the country and what needs changed, it’s the right time for him to take this step.

“I’m going to jump right in, apparently the water’s warm.”

Krykant said his priorities would lie in a few key areas – drug policy reform, urging the Scottish Government to push the boundaries of devolution and investment in communities.

“I think we need to focus more on people rather than mud slinging within politics,” he explained.

On independence, the former No voter revealed he would now back Yes and wants to see a referendum held in 2022.

Krykant said: “I think we should be focusing on what’s actually happening in the country now and it’s devastating.

“Not just places like Glasgow where I have been working with my overdose prevention van but throughout all health board areas. There’s increases in drug deaths, people’s mental health is completely shot to bits in terms of having to isolate at home alone especially over the Christmas period.

The National:

“Yes we could do more with independence but while we’ve not got independence, we’ve not control over things like the Misuse of Drugs Act, what we’ve got to do is push the boundaries because it will make a difference.”

Asked how he would manage both his campaigning and Holyrood work, the activist said his aim is to no longer be running the mobile consumption space by May.

“My hope is that when I meet Nicola Sturgeon and Angela Constance on January 7, I hope they’re both going to agree to push forward and open one of these sites officially,” Krykant said.

“If that happens at some point at the beginning of the new year obviously my overdose prevention van will become a museum.

“The reason I’ve done what I have done for the last few months and most of this year in terms of campaigning and opening it has always been about a political push for change at Holyrood so we can actually forge ahead and open one of these.”

READ MORE: Andrew Tickell: Lord Advocate has a role to play over safe consumption rooms

Despite his drugs campaign having focused mainly on Glasgow, Krykant has decided to run for office in his home town as he wants to improve investment in deprived areas and help small businesses.

“You just need to walk through Falkirk High Street to see the biggest challenges that we face in the town,” Krykant said. “There’s no shops open anymore … Small businesses are suffering, people aren’t shopping locally, people haven’t got the finances to do that.

“If I look to the village that I was raised in people cant even go out for a pint anymore – there were three pubs in the village that I grew up in and there’s not one pub now.

“That’s not just people getting together, the community aspect, it’s local jobs which aren’t there anymore.”

The current Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald is stepping down in May after 10 years representing the constituency. At the 2016 election he won with a sizeable majority, taking 51.4% of the vote ahead of the Labour candidate on 25.9%.

At the election Krykant will be running against SNP candidate Michelle Thomson, while the Labour and Tory candidates are yet to be confirmed.