Injection room saves 30 lives

Deputy mayor wants more drug-taking facilities across the city but opposition party Konservative is still against legal injection rooms

Staff at Copenhagen’s first legal drug injection room have saved 30 lives since it opened last autumn, according to metroXpress newspaper.

Since heroin users were invited to take their drugs under the supervision of trained health workers – two nurses are always present during opening hours – the facility in the Vesterbro district of Copenhagen has been used over 34,000 times.

“We are able to step in when a user has an overdose,” the injection room's manager, Rasmus Koberg Christiansen, told metroXpress. “We have the same antidote that ambulances have so there is no longer the same need to call for one when someone has an overdose.”

The deputy mayor for social affairs, Mikkel Warming (Enhedslisten), contends that the success of the injection room should be expanded across the city.

“My ambition is to extend the service to both Sundby and Nordvest by the end of the year,” Warming told metroXpress. The deputy mayor, however, is not likely to get the Konservative party to support the move.

“I am still an opponent of the injection room,” Konservative's legal spokesperson, Tom Behnke, told metroXpress, adding that while he valued that people’s lives had been saved, the facility was no long-term solution.

“These people’s lives were saved after taking their drugs, but what about tomorrow when they don’t make it into the injection room and have an overdose?” Behnke argued.

Instead, Behnke would rather introduce prescription heroin and increase efforts to rehabilitate addicts.

“In that way, we solve the health issues and the crime associated without having to buy drugs from dealers who earn handsomely from other people’s misfortunes,” Behnke said.