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  • Article – Opening of the first Drug Consumption Room in Paris

    Posted on February 24th, 2013 TimB No comments

    On 5 February 2013, French Prime Minister has agreed to experiment with a Drug Consumption Room (DCR) in Paris. It took four years of debate and determination associations to finally see this come to fruition harm reduction tool.

    On 19 May 2009, a fictitious DCR was installed in the premises of the association of self-support for drug users ASUD, by a collective of associations composed of : Fédération addiction, ASUD, Act-up Paris, Sos Hépatites, Safe, Gaïa Paris and salledeconsommation.fr for expertise. The collective “May 19″ had even filed a pre-project in the administration of the Ministry of Health. The time suggested the possibility of an experiment because the Minister of Health at the time, though a Conservative Government, ruled in his favor on the recommendations of the ‘INSERM’ (National Institute for Health and Medical Research) on harm reduction in France. But the Interministerial Mission for the fight against drugs and drug addiction and the Prime Minister at the time, quickly ended the debate by a non (“Neither useful, nor desirable”).

    2012 : Change of government and policy change. Actors in the field are finally heard. The pragmatic (based on science and the field) trumps ideology and morality.

    Why DCR?

    In recent years, the French situation on drugs has worsened due to a policy of “repressive of all”. Increased incarceration, 50% increase in the number of overdose (since 2003), a prevalence of Hepatitis C 60% among drug users…

    Paris is so far the only city chosen for this experiment (A feasibility study is underway for the city of Strasbourg. The mayor of Marseille, who was favorable, is now opposite -for political reasons- and despite the work of two years, an expert committee set up by the municipality itself.

    Paris: It is estimated that about 4 000 to 5 000 people who use the streets, parkings, building lobbies, toilets public. These people have health problems, social problems and are in great mental suffering.

    The public wanted by the DCR:

    Drug users who have little or no contact with health care facilities and/or harm reduction. Many young people under 30 years old, wandering, often accompanied by dogs, homeless, penniless, without family support, without social protection, without without without… They inject Skénan (based drug morphine), morphine, cocaine, consuming crack, alcohol. A very poor state of health despite their young age and are far removed from the care system. They are also drug users 30 to 50 years, very rooted in insecurity, polydrug often infected with hepatitis C, without medical supervision and with advanced disease. And finally, they are drug users of foreign origin, mostly Eastern European countries, Skénan injectors, heroin, methadone, without a residence permit without social rights open, and also with a high prevalence of the hépaite C.

    The area of the “Gare du Nord” (railway station) is particularly concerned: place of consumption and deal. In this area, it was also found a significant increase in the activity of two automata (distributors-exchangers syringes). The DCR should be installed in this area of Paris.

    Today, a steering committee will be created to work on the evaluation objectives, find the location in the neighborhood, the residents together… The association Gaia Paris should open the DCR in a few months.

    Bernard BERTRAND

    Expert DCR

    Member of the executive committee of the French Network Harm Reduction

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