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Drug Consumption Rooms

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Safe Injection Sites - Drug Consumption Rooms

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Shooting Gallery Vancouver Canada Safe Injection Site
Shooting Gallery Safe Injection Site - Vancouver, Canada


Drug consumption rooms (DCRs)/ Safe Injection Sites (SIS's) are professionally supervised healthcare facilities where drug users can use drugs in safer and more hygienic conditions. Since 1986, more than 90 DCRs have been set up in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Norway, Canada and Australia. Consumption rooms aim to establish contact with difficult-to-reach populations of drug users, provide an environment for more hygienic drug use, reduce morbidity and mortality risks associated with drug use — in particular street-based drug injecting — and promote drug users’ access to other social, health and drug treatment services.


Aims             Outcome Objectives Indicators             

1. Provide an environment for safer drug use


a) Reach and be accepted by  target groups

b) Gain acceptability

c) Establish conditions for safe, hygienic use

Client profiles, service use patterns, client satisfaction. 

Responses of local residents, businesses, police, politicians


2. Improve health status of target group

a) Improve risk-related behaviours


b) Reduce morbidity

c) Reduce mortality

d)  Improve access to healthcare and drug treatment

Street drug use, risk awareness, injection hygiene, borrowing/ lending

Injection injuries, infectious
disease transmission

Overdose outcomes

Treatment referral/uptake

3. Reduce public disorder

a) Reduce public drug use


b) Improve public perceptions


C) No increases in drug-re

a)  Self-reported rates of public
injecting, ethnographic observations of the burden of public injecting

Perceived nuisance, discarded

Crime Statistics



Main findings and conclusions
Harms associated with injecting drug use in the UK
■Over the past decade, the UK has consistently had the highest number of drug-related deaths in Europe.
■Health problems include blood-borne viruses, abscesses and cellulitis, frequently resulting in hospitalisation.
■There is a substantial population of homeless, injecting drug users in the UK, who often inject in public places.
■In England alone, the number of drug injections occurring in public places is likely to be of the order of tens of thousands per month.
■Large quantities of syringes and drug-related litter are dropped in public places across the UK, causing considerable impact on localresidents and businesses.

Impact of DCRs
■DCRs can prevent drug-related deaths, prevent needle-sharing and improve the general health of users.
■DCRs can lead to a reduction in injecting in public places and an associated reduction in discarded, used syringes and drug-related litter.
■Most of those who use DCRs are local drug users.
■DCRs do not appear to either increase or decrease levels of acquisitive crime.
■Public disorder and drug-dealing in the vicinity of DCRS are infrequent and can generally be prevented through good interagency co-operation.

Would DCRs have an impact in the UK?
■The IWG concludes that well-designed and well-implemented DCRs would have an impact on some of the serious drug-related problems experienced in the UK.

Would they be legal?
■The IWG concludes that national or international law need not be insuperable obstacles to the piloting of DCRs.

Source : Harm reduction: evidence, impacts and challenges | EMCDDA, Lisbon, April 2010 

Chapter 11:Drug consumption facilities in Europe and beyond

Authors: Dagmar Hedrich, Thomas Kerr and Françoise Dubois-Arber