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Injecting drug users in France will now have a place to use drugs in supervised “consumption rooms” under a new law introduced last month.
The “safe injection sites”, which will be staffed by health professionals, will be set-up in Paris, Bordeaux and Strasbourg first, with researchers appointed to see how well they work before they are rolled out across the country.
France’s National Assembly adopted the law after a four-hour debate with the more conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, which opposed the new injection site, saying that it is a “first step towards legalization of drugs” and sends “incomprehensible messages towards the youth.”
However Marisol Touraine, the Minister of Health behind the bill, responded to conservative critics by saying, “Our position is not a moral position but a pragmatic and realistic position.” A 2014 Global Drug Survey found that adopting safer drug use practices could save lives, reduce the use of emergency medical services, and promote safe and hygienic drug use.
Consumption rooms are already available in several European cities including Amsterdam, as well as Vancouver in Canada and Sydney in Australia. In recent years there have been calls for various UK cities to adopt the policy.