H17, Scandinavia’s largest drug injection room in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, opened officially on 1st August.
H17 offers 1,000 square meters of supervised facilities and is a new drug consumption room (fixerom) designed and decorated to specially suit the needs of drug users. Here they 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.
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 Foreningen Fixerum, some 300 drug users die from overdoses in Denmark every year – one of the highest rates per capita in Europe.
Scandinavia’s Largest Drug Injection Room, source: Copenhagen Post
Photos by Nanna W. Gotfredsen (Danish Street Lawyers) and Sune Kehlet. Portrait photos:DR and private.