Worldwide, harm reduction strategies are regarded an essential component of a comprehensive and integral drug policy (Cook et al., 2016; Csete et al., 2016; Strang et al., 2012). European countries have been converging on a core of drug policy options aimed at reducing harms for many years (Cook, Bridge, & Stimson, 2010); among the central features of harm reduction programmes that have spread among European cities is the provision of opioid substitution treatment (methadone and buprenorphine) and access to needle and syringe exchange programmes (EMCDDA, 2015; Rhodes & Hedrich, 2010). Furthermore, in several European countries (including Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Luxembourg and Denmark), drug consumption rooms (DCR) have been implemented and became an integrated component of low-threshold services offered within drug treatment systems. Despite their well-documented effectiveness in addressing drug-related harms—these services allow safer injection, are associated with decreased morbidity and mortality (overdoses), facilitate referrals for drug treatment, and benefit public order (EMCDDA, 2016; Potier et al., 2014)—DCRs remain controversial. Nonetheless, several countries (e.g., USA, Scotland and Ireland) are exploring its implementation, and a pilot DCR is planned to open in France in October 2016. At present, Belgium does not provide these facilities to its drug using population, and research on this topic is limited in Belgium (Barendregt & Rodenburg, 2004; Favril, Vander Laenen, & Decorte, 2015). To this end, in order to fill this knowledge gap, the current study on DCRs in Belgium aims to explore its feasibility in five major cities: Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Liège and Charleroi.
Freya Vander Laenen (UGent)
1/04/2017 - 15/03/2018
Federal Research Programme Drugs
Universiteit Gent, Faculteit Recht en Criminologie, Vakgroep Criminologie, Strafrecht en Sociaal Recht
Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de recherche santé et société