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Drug consumption rooms could save thousands of UK lives, study finds

Thousands of lives could be saved if safe rooms were set up in UK cities where people could be supervised while they get high, the world’s largest review of the effectiveness of drug-consumption rooms and overdose-prevention centres (OPCs) has found.

The part-government-funded study published on Thursday also found the facilities could slash the transmission of fatal diseases, as well as reduce drug litter, the pressure on ambulance callouts and the burden on hospitals.

Similar facilities already operate in France, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Greece, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Mexico, Iceland and Colombia.

Each unit hosts from 20 to 400 users a day and is supposed to provide somewhere for people to take drugs in the presence of trained health workers who intervene if an overdose occurs.

They also mean people don’t have to rush their drug taking, can access clean needles, and get help with other health issues, from testing for hepatitis B and HIV to accessing mental-health support.

But none has yet been deployed officially in the UK, and the report warns the absence “costs lives”.

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Source: The Guardian, 11 January 2023


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