For those who have had limited or no experience at all with addiction, it is easy to think ‘Why does every addict not go through an addiction detox to overcome their illness?’ The reality is that many of these addicts are simply not ready to give up the substance they heavily rely on while others have not fully accepted that they are even suffering from addiction and still think they have some control over it. The opening of ‘fix rooms’ around the world are leading to more questions surrounding the intentions behind them, with many experts arguing that these facilities are encouraging drug use. However, many other experts insist that these fix rooms will result in fewer drug-related deaths and will see fewer drug users on the streets.
Controversy and Speculation
With the UK set to see its first ‘fix room’ opening for drug users, there has been a lot of controversy and speculation surrounding this; however, this decision has been based on previous successes in other countries around the world that have taken this approach. Skyen is one of Copenhagen’s fix rooms that has proved to be hugely popular with drug users in the city – at this location, addicts can take drugs such as cocaine and heroin while under medical supervision. Any equipment they require such as needles are sterilised and provided by the shelter; the only thing the shelter will not supply is the drugs themselves as the user must bring their own. These fix rooms have been up and running for more than thirty years, and many countries around the world have accepted them, including Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and Australia.
A hospital in Paris has recently opened France’s first ‘shooting gallery’, and the UK is set to be next, with plans to open a fix room in Glasgow. These facilities are a safe environment where addicts can take drugs in a protected environment, which the government believes would be better for society as there will be fewer overdose deaths and used syringes left on the streets.
Nevertheless, some experts believe that these facilities are, in fact, encouraging drug use, although manager of Skyen, Rasmus Koberg Christiansen disagrees. He said, “The situation in the area before we had the drug consumption room was that we had all the drug users sitting around in the streets, shooting drugs in public. After we opened this place, about 90% of the outdoor drugs use is gone. We have had hundreds of overdose situations, not a single one has been fatal. Our purpose is harm reduction; however, if or when a user expresses a wish to stop or cut down on their drug use, we react immediately and help the person to make contact to a relevant facility.”
One woman who attends Skyen regularly is forty-nine-year-old prostitute Angelea Let. The facility is situated in the centre of the red light district, which makes it convenient for the likes of Angelea. She became addicted to drugs after a tragic car accident. Speaking of her drug abuse, she said, “I get a good feeling from my legs to my head, it has already taken away 50% of my pain. After I was in the accident, there was no feeling in my left leg and arm for about six years. I have the feeling back now, but I’m in constant pain.”
To numb this pain, Angela uses the fix rooms to smoke crack cocaine and sometimes heroin. She says she feels secure in the facility because the staff will ensure her safety and that their duty is to prevent as many people as possible from having a drug-related death.
Skyen is extremely busy and always has a flow of new faces and regulars. The staff will see the same people come to the facility a couple of times every few hours. The drugs room closes for only one hour every morning to be cleaned, but apart from this is open all day and all night. Speaking of her life in general, Angelea said, “I’m here again because I’m in so much pain. I’m going to work, make some money and then smoke cocaine, then go back to work, make more money and smoke more cocaine again in the fix room. This is my lovely life.”
As these drug addicts are continuing to abuse drugs in these facilities, many will be confused as to why governments are allowing this instead of helping these individuals go through an addiction detox to overcome their addiction. Nevertheless, many of these addicts are not yet ready to overcome their addiction and would continue to abuse drugs on the streets. It is for this reason that fix rooms are being opened.
Help and Support
While fix rooms will provide a safe place for addicts to use drugs, it is far better to get help for this devastating illness so that the affected individual can move on to a substance-free life. If you are worried about a loved one’s drug abuse and are unsure of how to tackle this, get in touch with us here at Addiction Helper. We work with some of the UK’s top rehabilitation clinics that offer a range of treatments such as addiction detox to CBT. Our priority is to ensure that the addicted individual receives the right amount of support to help them overcome their addiction successfully. If you would like any further information, then do not hesitate to contact us today and we would be more than happy to offer our assistance.
Source: Why addicts take drugs in ‘fix rooms’ (BBC)