H17, a new drug consumption room (fixerum), officially opens in Copenhagen on Monday.
The facility is located on Halmtorvet in the Vestrebro district. Measuring 1,000 sqm, it is the largest of its kind in Scandinavia.
H17 was designed and decorated to specially suit the needs of drug users, who will find a sterile, supervised and supportive environment with access to medical and psycho-social services.
“Our primary goal is to reduce the impact of the harmful effects that come with living with a drug addiction on the street,” Louise Runge Mortensen, the head of H17, told Politiken.
“Here they can take their drugs in a safe environment, and because it’s so peaceful here, we can hopefully get some of them to consider talking to a treatment worker.”
Copenhagen Municipality estimates it will cost about 30 million kroner annually to run the facility.
No better options
Liselott Blixt, the health spokesman for Dansk Folkeparti, believes the fixerum indirectly supports the sale of controlled substances by offering a space for drug users.
“I don’t think we have any other options,” Jesper Christensen, the deputy mayor for social issues, told DR.
“If we should give these people a life with dignity and a chance to move on, this is the best bet we have right now.”
According to Foregningen Fixerum, some 300 drug users die from overdoses in Denmark every year – one of the highest rates per capita in Europe.