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Second French City Opens a Drug Consumption Room

Less than one month after inaugurating the country’s first ever drug consumption room (DCR), France has opened its second such facility in the northeast city of Strasbourg.

Located in a hospital – like the Paris DCR – the Strasbourg site can accommodate eight people who inject drugs and four people who smoke, reported Le Monde.

The facility, which the Ithaca Association will operate, will be open daily from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and has the capacity for approximately 120 to 150 visits per day.

According to France Bleu, seven staff – among them medical professionals – will be on hand to assist people using the DCR, particularly if they need to be revived from an overdose. The site will furthermore link people to broader healthcare and treatment services should they require them.

There are estimated to be close to 100 similar sites located across the world, with most facilities concentrated in Western Europe. Since the first site was implemented in 1986 in Switzerland, DCRs – some of which are spaces solely for intravenous drug use – have built up a strong evidence base that underscores their efficacy in preventing overdose deaths and the spread of blood-borne viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis C.

The latter is particularly pertinent for France’s second DCR. In the broader Alsace region, where Strasbourg is the capital, some 30 per cent of people who inject drugs are estimated to be carrying the hepatitis C virus.

Strasbourg’s mayor, Roland Ries, has long been a proponent of DCRs, supporting their implementation since 2011. Indeed, following passage of national legislation last year allowing the creation of DCRs in France, the proposal for Strasbourg was voted in with ease, receiving over 90 per cent of the municipal council vote last December.

As in Paris, the Strasbourg site will run as a pilot program for six years while it is evaluated. A third pilot facility in France is slated to open in Bordeaux in the future. 

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