UK authorities are considering introducing safe injection rooms for drug addicts after Denmark carried out a similar experiment which proved successful.
Copenhagen has two drug consumption rooms where hard drug addicts receive sterile needles and can shoot up inside individual booths. Furthermore, if anything goes wrong, nurses are on hand to help.
The initiative has saved lives and helped clean up districts renowned for drugs. Inside the premises, there has not been one death, despite the fact there have been around 100 overdoses.
Drugs are illegal in the Scandinavian country, but safe injection customers are not prosecuted for possession of drugs. The majority of addicts in Copenhagen are positive about the consumption rooms as they say they feel safer there. Some even admit to feeling ashamed that they ever shot up in areas where people could see their problem.
With a 2.5km radius and a capacity for 8,000 users, the open drug area in the Danish capital is Scandinavia’s biggest. Copenhagen police’s deputy chief superintendent Kaj Majlund said putting drug addicts in jail is not the answer; you have to come up with new ways to deal with them.
Copenhagen launched its first drug consumption room two years ago, after over 10 years of lobbying for it. The second opened in August this year, while a third is due to open in Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus, in the coming months.
Ivan Christensen, manager of the drug consumption rooms in Copenhagen, says that they are providing long-term addicts with a clean environment as an alternative to them shooting up on the streets. He pointed out that they are not injecting shacks or opium dens; they are regulated, professionally-run and have medical supervision.
However, critics claim that because addicts are surrounded by addicts in these rooms, they are more likely to remain addicts.