Drug consumption rooms provide a hygienic and supervised space for users to inject or otherwise consume illicitly-obtained drugs, the overarching aim being to reduce or eliminate public injecting and its adverse effects on the environment, public order, and the health of drug users. Evidence does not support concerns that drug consumption rooms might encourage drug use, delay treatment entry, or aggravate problems arising from local drug markets, suggesting instead that they facilitate safer drug use, increase access to health and social services, and reduce public drug use and associated nuisance. However, cutting across the grain of prohibitionist policies, they remain highly controversial.
There are an estimated 90 facilities across Europe, Canada and Australia, with intermittent calls to see them extended to the UK. In areas blighted by a ‘perfect storm’ of visible injecting scenes, discarded paraphernalia, and injecting-related overdose and deaths, could drug consumption rooms which provide an alternative to public injecting be part of the solution?
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