DDN March 2022 March 2022 | Page 17



This month , I have been delighted to launch our new five-year strategy , website and brand that underpin our commitment to empowering people and empowering change . Cranstoun is a social justice and harm reduction charity working across the areas of substance use , domestic abuse , criminal justice , housing and young people . Our vision is to be a world-class leader in rebuilding lives . We recognise that everyone is different and has different goals , so at Cranstoun we meet people at the point of their need , delivering evidenceinformed solutions to get the best outcomes for every individual .

The refreshed branding and website reflect our ambition at Cranstoun to innovate and be courageous on behalf of the people who use our services . We believe that people in the UK and Ireland deserve the world ’ s best practice . We are hungry to apply solutions here that are proven to work elsewhere , and to create home-grown solutions to export to other parts of the world . For example , we are advocating and directly campaigning for overdose prevention centres ( OPCs ) as part of a whole-system response to drugrelated deaths , and we have also invested in new technology proven to reduce deaths in Canada . Our Cranstoun BuddyUp app ensures
Let ’ s reduce harm , stand up for social justice and empower change , says Charlie Mack
that no-one has to use alone , helping to save lives and reduce harm to individuals , communities and society .
Ambitious and committed to influencing positive change , we believe in creating system change by doing – shaping public opinion and policy to make a lasting difference to the systems and policies that make the greatest impact . You can read a bit more about some of our latest work and our strategy in action below , or find out more on our website . We ’ d love you to support us to drive forward system change .
THE CRANSTOUN STRATEGY IN ACTION At Cranstoun , we mean business when we talk about harm reduction . We are committed to reducing the harms associated with substance use in every way we can imagine – from our naloxone supply , injecting equipment provision and our BuddyUp app to diamorphine-assisted treatment , overdose prevention centres and our DIVERT pre-arrest drug diversion programme .
BUDDYUP The idea is simple – people who use drugs ( PWUD ) alone can download the app and be connected to a Cranstoun volunteer , with whom they can build a rescue plan in the event of an emergency . The plan is only activated if the person using the app becomes unresponsive . It will then send emergency instructions , triggering the appropriate medical attention , with the aim of preventing avoidable , fatal overdose .
In line with our new vision of developing and delivering worldclass services , we have partnered with technology co-op Brave to build on the evidence base developed in Canada and bring that evidence back to the UK . We will be rolling out the app in a number of areas , with the intention that the service will be available across the UK and Ireland . We would love to collaborate and partner with other organisations who work with PWUD and could benefit from this support .
Cranstoun is pleased to partner with Drug Science and Release in this venture , with links in the app to both organisations for reliable information , informed support and legal advice . If you want to support us consider becoming a Buddy , and volunteer with BuddyUp to become a lifesaver . You can also support us by making a donation on our website .
OVERDOSE PREVENTION CENTRES ( OPCS ) There is a wealth of evidence across the world that OPCs save lives , and sadly the UK lags far behind in this respect . As leaders and experts in harm reduction , Cranstoun have developed a blueprint to deliver OPCs in the UK , providing full clinical oversight and monitored and evaluated by a leading academic team . Excluded from support , many people who inject in public , semi-public or hidden areas die in dire conditions in abandoned buildings , parks and alleyways . Our goal is to make safe places a reality across every country in the UK and to embed OPCs as a core part of our service offer .
Cranstoun have long supported this intervention . Before our project lead Peter Krykant joined Cranstoun , he operated the UK ’ s first OPC in Glasgow , and although this was an unsanctioned service it operated for ten months , supervising hundreds of injections and saving multiple lives . This added to the international evidence and pushed political change in Scotland .
Our goal is to make safe places a reality across every country in the UK and to embed Overdose Prevention Centres as a core part of our service offer .
Our commitment is to empower people , and OPCs give us that opportunity . They are the ideal place to offer harm reduction advice on safer injecting practices , transition to smoking rather than injecting , and many other options for people that traditional drug services cannot reach .
Charlie Mack is chief executive at Cranstoun
GeorgePeters / iStock