After years of political wrangling, Copenhagen City Council decided yesterday that a community centre on Istedgade in Vesterbro will be the site of Copenhagen’s first permanent injection room.
The injection room will open in Mændenes Hjem in August 2013 but from this October a smaller temporary facility will open in a health clinic on the nearby square of Halmtorv.
The city's mayor for social affairs, Mikkel Warming (Enhedslisten), told journalists that the community centre was ideal.
“Many drug abusers already use the services in Mændenes Hjem, such as health checkups, dental care and food handouts, on a daily basis,” Warming said. “By placing the injection room here, it creates a synergy with the many other services offered by the house.”
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 decision to place the injection room in the social centre has not been universally commended, however.
“I am most nervous about placing the injection room in Mændenes Hjem because it is too close to residential areas," city council member, Rasmus Jarlov (Konservative), told Dinby.dk. He added, however, that the permanent home of the injection room would be better suited for the more secluded Halmtorv.
“We are against injection rooms because it will become a hub for drugs and we also don’t understand why anyone would want to finance a facility that breaks the law," he said. "I would prefer if it were on Halmtorv because it needs to be hidden as far away as possible."