Some obstacles remain before the injection room, which may cost as much as 18 million kroner to set up, can become a reality - including an expected law change that will decriminalise the taking of drugs in the facility. "It will sadly take over a year to establish the injection room in Mændenes Hjem," Warming said. "That is why we have created the temporary injection room in the health centre."
The new president of France, François Hollande, is not likely to change cannabis policies. His choice as Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, is a declared opponent to any reform on cannabis. During the election campaign, Hollande already opposed the proposal to convert the criminal offence of cannabis use into misdemeanour, put forward by his security adviser and mayor of Dijon, François Rebsamen. Hollande did not want to “give any signal foregoing a deterrent against the use of cannabis."
In September 2012, the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, launched the first centre for drug addicts in the Bronx, a marginalised city-centre neighbourhood. Called the Medical Care Centre for Dependent Drug Users (Centro de Atención Médica a Drogodependientes - CAMAD), it is staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and nurses. The people given care in these centres are in an at-risk situation and socially excluded due to their high levels of drug dependency.
The global war on drugs is driving the HIV pandemic among people who use drugs and their sexual partners. Throughout the world, research has consistently shown that repressive drug law enforcement practices force drug users away from public health services and into hidden environments where HIV risk becomes markedly elevated. Mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders also plays a major role in spreading the pandemic. Today, there are an estimated 33 million people worldwide living with HIV – and injection drug use accounts for one-third of new HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
Colombia's chief public prosecutor has called for a referendum on whether to legalise drug consumption, in response to plans to set up a network of public centres where users can consume illicit drugs under supervision. The so-called “controlled consumption centres” are part of a drive by Gustavo Petro, the mayor of the capital, Bogotá, to reduce drug-related crime in the city.
France’s health minister, Marisol Touraine, has said trial centres where drug addicts can safely inject their own drugs with sterile needles provided by medical professionals could open before the end of the year in a handful of French cities. “I hope that experimental trials will be announced before the end of the year,” Touraine told French BFM television, adding that a handful of cities were ready to test the new program.
Many residents of Vesterbro have lived alongside the local homeless and drug-addict populations for decades. But for the sake of the drug users’ health – as well as the hope to reduce crime and avoid exposing children to drug culture – many have long demanded that the city provide a room where drug users can inject their drugs under the supervision of healthcare experts.
Mobile injection rooms have been operated for the past year out of two former ambulances. Run by the private organisation Foreningen Fixerum and staffed by volunteer healthcare workers, the rooms-on-wheels offered a safe and hygienic place, off the streets, for drug users to inject. The City Council took over the project earlier this year when the long legal battle to establish stationary injection rooms was finally won.
For the past 10 to 20 years, drug consumption rooms (DCRs) have become an integrated part of the drug treatment and harm reduction strategy in a variety of countries in Western Europe, North America and Australia. However, they have not yet been established in the majority of countries worldwide.