73. Overdose Prevention Centres with Gillian Shorter and Mat Southwell


In this week’s Drug Science podcast Professor David Nutt is joined by Matt Southwell and Dr Gillian Shorter for a conversation about preventing drug related deaths and the need for supervised injection facilities in the UK.

Dr Gillian Shorter is currently a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, with 17 years’ research experience on substance use and allied works. Her main research focus is supporting people who use drugs or alcohol who are not seeking formal treatment. She led the evaluation of the UK’s first unsanctioned drug consumption site in Glasgow, Scotland run by Peter Krykant, and has an interest in developing models for overdose prevention centres including community engagement, evaluation, understanding, and delivery in partnerships with people who have lived or living experience of substance use.

Matt Southwell is a high-level advocate, technical advisor and drug user activist. He was one of the UK’s first generation of harm reduction workers in the late 1980s founding the pioneering and award-winning Healthy Options Team (HOT). In 1999 Mat decided to come out publicly as a drug user on a BBC documentary leading to dismissal from his position in the NHS Drug Services and the loss of his successful private consulting firm. Since this time Mat has supported drug user organisations and led different drug user networks from the local to the global level. Mat is currently Project Manager for the European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD).

Is the UK on its way to opening first official drug injection sites? How can one influence police officials and politicians to lobby for a positive change? How effective are these solutions in preventing drug related deaths?


Tune in to listen to this highly insightful and simply important episode.



Supervised Injection Facilities

Harm reduction


Overdose Prevention Centres

Needle and syringe programmes

Reducing drug-related harms in Sandwell: the need and feasibility of an overdose prevention service

Opioid agonist therapy



Diamorphine (Heroin-assisted treatment)

Drug Science Enhanced Harm Reduction Working Group 

Illicit drugs classification in the UK

Peter Krykant

CAS Baluard Barcelona

Drug consumption rooms