Standing outside Peter Krykant’s overdose prevention van is a depressing experience, brightened only by one man’s determination to do what he can to save lives.

It is two weeks till Christmas, freezing cold, and I’m wrapped up warm in woolly hat, gloves and thick, padded jacket.

It is not yet midday and two figures come rushing towards the van, shivering as they are not as wrapped up as I am.

One asks if there is anyone else in the van and when told “no” says “thank god, I’m desperate”.

They are both young, I wouldn’t be surprised if one is still in his teens.

They soon disappear from my sight as they are ushered inside immediately to where it is warm and safer for them.

The alternative would be for them to be outside, probably in the alleyway just yards away or down by the river or on wasteground on one of the many litter strewn sites people use.

There, they would either bare an arm or expose their groin, to the freezing temperature and inject themselves with whatever drug they are taking, probably cocaine.

There, they would be in a hurry, at greater risk from infection, and once they inject the drug, would be exposed and in an even more vulnerable state than they already were.

In the van they have access to clean equipment, a sanitized environment and someone trained to intervene if something goes wrong.

The week before, Peter said he had ten people come to use the van. The week before that there was only two.

He operates only from 10am until 3pm. And has averaged around two an hour. It is a lot of people in a desperate situation.

That is during lockdown when the city streets are quieter, there are fewer drug users around as there are fewer shoppers and workers to make enough from street begging for money for drugs.

Peter Krykant is doing what no-one in authority is willing to do.

He has made this space available to challenge the law that makes it illegal for the council and health board to open the facility they wanted to.

For his trouble he faces a court date after he refused to accept a caution for a charge of obstructing two police officers who wanted access to the van on a previous occasion.

A Safer Drug Consumption Room (DCR) is one of just many actions that could be done if only there was the political will to do it.

Peter instead, calls his van an overdose prevention site as that is what it is there to do. He is not there to facilitate drug use but to prevent overdose and deaths.

If the Lord Advocate allowed it the council and health board could open one tomorrow. The site is there, the funding was in place and the will at a local level is there.

But he won’t direct police not to enforce drug laws around any such site.

Instead we have a constitutional row framed as Westminster law, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, preventing Scotland from doing something it wants to.

Successive UK Home Secretaries have refused requests from the Scottish Government to amend the 1971 Act to allow a DCR in Glasgow.

But Scotland’s top law officer can issue a directive that would render the UK Government opposition irrelevant.

As he hasn’t done so, the row rumbles on and people continue to die, prematurely.

The latest drug related death statistics for Scotland are due next week.

They are expected to be even more shocking, if that is possible, than last year.

Last year it was revealed there had been 1187 deaths in Scotland, 280 of them in Glasgow city, an increase of more than 40% on the year before.

Since then, nothing, nothing that has made a difference to the lives of the two young people who were “desperate” to use Peter Krykant’s van has been put in place.

There has been a drugs death task force set up, which has done nothing that has made a difference to the two people, “desperate” to use Peter Krykant’s van.

The Scottish Government has done nothing, nothing to help the two young people “desperate” to use Peter Krykant’s van get off the drugs that eventually will kill them if they keep taking them.

They have not funded addiction services properly, they have not funded rehabilitation services properly and they have not acted to provide a safer space to prevent people injecting drugs outdoors, in people’s closes or in city centre alleyways.

If they had, we would not be looking at another shameful set of statistics that will likely show well over more than one thousand men and women dead as a result of a problem that has grown over the last ten years.

Men and women, not numbers.

Like last year, we will probably hear that action is being taken and this needs long term solutions to turn it around.

Time however, is a luxury these people do not have.

Like last year, we will likely hear that there is ‘no silver bullet’ to the problem of drug related deaths.

The problem is, people are dying now and it seems to those who are in need of help now, and to those genuinely trying to help, that the only bullets that are being fired are blanks.