LAST September Peter Krykant parked an old Ford Transit van, kitted out with clean needles, a sharps bin, Naloxone (an antidote to opioid overdose) and a defibrillator, in Parnie Street in Glasgow and opened the doors to the city’s addicts.

In a country that has the unhappy record of having the highest drug death toll in the world, Krykant, himself a former addict, felt something needed to be done. His plan was to offer a safe space for drug users.

In Canada, after all, the introduction of drug consumption rooms had seen a 40 per cent reduction of drug deaths, while the number in Switzerland had halved. As governments in Holyrood and Westminster seemed unable to deal with the issue, Krykant wanted to do something.

Doing something led him to losing his job as an outreach worker, being cautioned by the police, stand to be elected as an MSP and get to talk to Nicola Sturgeon.

Dani Garavelli’s documentary, Waiting for the Van (Radio 4, Tuesday) followed Krykant’s attempts to help addicts, many of them homeless, over a number of months, while asking larger questions of drug policy in both Scotland and the UK.

But it is the smaller details in the programme that hit home hardest. At one point Garavelli meets a 20-year-old addict she calls “Jackie” who has been using since she was 15. Jackie was a regular visitor to Krykant’s van. “I don’t usually like men,” Jackie told Garavelli the first time we meet her. What you wonder – maybe fear – is the story behind that small comment.

Jackie – “thin, fragile, childlike almost, though her eyes are wary,” according to Garavelli – kept popping up throughout the programme. When she overdoses twice in the space of a few days you fear the worst for her.

But, by the end of the programme, Jackie was beginning to look for help. A small moment to cheer in a programme that was often a tough listen.

The experience was clearly tough on Krykant. By the end of the programme, he had himself relapsed into drug-taking and was seeking help.

“I can’t begin to explain the strain it’s put on my husband, on our family on our finances, on our mental health, on our physical health,” Krykant’s wife Catherine had told Garavelli earlier. “If I could go back in time and get somebody else to do it, I would probably give up my house and my pinky finger for somebody else to have taken on that burden.”

Abrupt gear change. The latest episode of Soul Music (Radio 4, Wednesday) took on the smooth, sad glory of We’ve Only Just Begun by The Carpenters.

As Natasha Khan, aka Bat For Lashes, noted in the programme, what grabs you in their music is Karen Carpenter’s voice, it’s pureness but also its weight of feeling.

Perhaps, knowing Carpenter’s story, her struggles with anorexia and her early death, we retrospectively impose that weight. Or perhaps it was always there.

“I didn’t find out until later all the stuff that she went to and the suffering she went through,” Khan noted, “but I suppose as a small child I just picked up on this nuance and this dichotomy in her voice and how rich and beautiful it was, but how sad it made me feel. How it made me think of my mum and her struggles. This adult sadness … that I didn’t really understand but through music I could access.”

“Adult sadness” is as good a description of the music of The Carpenters as any, I’d say.

Oh, and Khan’s own version of We’ve Only Just Begun is also gorgeous, by the way.

Listen Out For: The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed, Radio 4, tonight, 7.15pm. JK Rowling is Simon Armitage’s guest this week.