Neoseeker.com Forum Thread: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain? - page 1

reprinted from http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/
original thread: http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/16/t1860984-fixing-rooms-possibility-for-britain/


Author:   Misty
Date:   May 08, 13 at 6:00pm (PST)
Subject:   'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
Apparently Brighton is considering a similar model to what Denmark has.

quote Guardian
Maja Petersen, 38, a prostitute, could not wait a moment longer for her fix. She had made her way to Copenhagen's drug consumption room, hoping to inject there, away from public view and within sight of its nurses. But the room – a place where addicts can use class A drugs free of fear of prosecution – doesn't open its doors to the city's 8,000 addicts until 8.30am.

At 8am last Wednesday, she sat down on the cobbled street outside and plunged a syringe into her arm, flushing cocaine into her bloodstream. Speaking shortly afterwards, with tears welling in her eyes, she estimated that she would inject herself another 20 times that day with cocaine, methadone, or a mixture of the two – her usual routine. "With cocaine you want more and more and more. If you have it, you take it," she said. "I hate life. I don't have a life any more. But I have never taken too much. I have never tried to die."

Not wanting to die is the reason why Petersen, like the 1,000 regulars at what the Danes call the "fixing room", make their way to this small health centre in a square that it has made its own, walled off from view, in Copenhagen's Vesterbro area – the city's former meat-packing district.

Even the most addled addict is unlikely to die here under the watch of medics and social workers. It is why, back in Britain, Brighton's public health leaders will meet this summer to "give serious consideration" to establishing a similar facility in the city, where 110 people died drug-related deaths between 2009 and 2012.


Copenhagen's drug consumption room is small, but it is the latest incarnation of the idea of a safe haven for addicts and those behind it have learned lessons from about 90 others around the world. Last month's revelation in the Observer that there is a movement championing a similar facility on the south coast of England drew predictable fire from the rightwing commentariat. If Brighton does go ahead, it may wish to learn from Denmark.

In Copenhagen's fixing room, eight people at a time, and another four in a van parked up in the courtyard, inject, in the knowledge that they are being watched over by nurses and are taking their drugs in a clean environment using sterile needles, a dose of saline solution, a cotton bud and a pump, all provided by staff.

A large anatomical drawing of a man shows users the location of their main veins and arteries, and there is even a machine addicts can use that illuminates a healthy vein to spike. The atmosphere is tense; drug-takers can be mercurial and outbreaks of violence have been known. But, incongruously, it has the atmosphere of a library, as the addicts crouch in their booths, complete with small desk lamps, offering few words beyond the odd call for hush to those who make a noise. Those who inject cocaine – the favoured drug in this area – become extremely sensitive to noise while high.

It is not a pleasant place, but it is very popular. There have been more than 36,000 injections in the room since it opened in October, with the addicts getting through as many as 350 syringes a day. There have been an additional 13,000 injections in the van, about 40 a day. Most users, about 75%, are male and two thirds are aged 31-50.

Crucially, while nurses in the room have dealt with 36 overdoses in the last seven months, not one has been fatal – as is the pattern in the other drug-consumption rooms around the world. Dealing in drugs is forbidden and the police carefully monitor those hovering outside. They will enter the room and its courtyard if necessary, but they don't come in for "the sake of it", said Superintendent Henrik Orye.

The lives of addicts are without doubt being saved. All the evidence, here and internationally, suggests so. But there is much more to it than that, proponents say. When Petersen and the others have finished with their needles, they put them in a sharps bin. Up to 10,000 syringes used to be picked up off the streets of Vesterbro every week before the room opened. Everyone in the area appears able to tell a tale of a child they know who has been spiked, although none of them appears to have been infected. Since the launch of the room, the quantity of drug paraphernalia collected from gutters, playgrounds, stairwells and doorways in the area has halved.

Vesterbro also appears to be a place where the desperate are seemingly becoming a little less desperate. Year on year, burglaries in the wider area are down by about 3%, theft from vehicles and violence down about 5%, and possession of weapons also down. "From the police perspective, I can see the benefits," said Orye. "It feels calmer."

Critics say that such rooms make it easier for drug users to abuse themselves and send the wrong message. Only five people using Copenhagen's room have been put on treatment since October.

Petersen, like many others using the room or floating around the courtyard outside, said that she does not want and would never seek treatment. But every day that she comes here to inject she meets health professionals, social workers and people offering treatment in case she suddenly want to rise from rock bottom, say the room's staff. Petersen might change her mind one day, said Nanna Gotfredsen, a lawyer who campaigned for the room.

Michael Olsen, a local resident who was a key figure in persuading authorities to accept the idea of a consumption room, said that he felt moved to champion the cause when he found addicts taking drugs in his bins, and women urinating in a phone box because all the toilets in the area had been sealed to stop addicts injecting there. "There is no country that has solved this problem, so surely, until we solve it, we can meet their basic needs – access to food, a toilet, medical help and a safe place to take their drugs," he said. Ivan Christensen – who runs a nearby hostel for the homeless which, in partnership with the Copenhagen town hall, manages the consumption room – said that ultimately it is about harm reduction rather than treatment. "We don't do this to get people out [of drugs]," he said. "We are happy when we do, but at first it is helping people in the situation they are in.

"We just intervene when they ask for help because we do not demand that they change, or push them to change. The philosophy is that we can't change people, people can change themselves and we can be there when they want to change."

Frank Nealson, 42, who has been using cocaine and heroin, among other drugs, for 27 years, is surprised that anyone could believe consumption rooms encourage use. "The reasons I use drugs, and where and how I use drugs, are two separate things. This place makes sure I don't do it in the street, don't pick up diseases from dirty needles, and that is it."

There is a plan to open a second facility, with a smoking room, further up the road. It will be called The Cloud. But the local authority is struggling to win acceptance from all residents. The high school, which is across the road from the current consumption room, is worried for its students, said Michael Knudsen, the caretaker. "We can't live with it so close."

Martin Petersen, 43, who lives on the road where the second room is planned, said that he believed the consumption room had reduced the number of addicts he saw injecting on the street by half. Pointing to the blood splatter on the archway above the door to his flat, caused by an addict injecting in a neck artery, he said: "That used to be normal."

But Petersen said that he was also concerned about the location. "It is a good idea, but there is a lot you need to get right." A warning for Brighton then. But experience of the Copenhagen room also offers a great deal of encouragement.
source

The tl;dr of it is that Denmark basically has facilities that provide clean sharps and syringes for drug addicts to use to shoot up with, in a clean facility. They aren't prosecuted or punished even though said drugs are illegal there as well (and there aren't cops sitting outside the place trying to arrest everyone that goes in for posession; they only intervene if actual dealing is going on outside the place, and at the facility's request).

Thoughts? Is it a waste of taxpayer time/money that rewards the unproductive, or is it a step in the right direction to keeping people from shooting up using dirty needles and on the streets? Personally I'm inclined to believe the latter, it seems to have worked in Denmark at least, and I'm sure the costs are far lower than putting these people in jail and forcing them through treatment they likely don't want to go through only to have them relapse and repeat the process so I'd think it's better in that regard... Is it possible to work in Britain? Maybe the US?



Author:   Winter1
Date:   May 08, 13 at 6:47pm (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
Ahh not to sound harsh as some addicts have genuine reasons why they started in the first place but it's a waste of time and sends out the wrong messages. Why waste nurses looking after somewhere like that to look after people whom most of which don't deserve the help. there's also the fact hospitals are better off with those nurses to help look after the people who really need there help.

There's no need for fixing rooms, let the junkies OD if they haven't got the will power to seek help at hospital to help them get over there addiction.

I'm preparing myself for a shit storm of replies from seemingly intelligent people on here who sympathize with drug addicts.



Author:   Misty
Date:   May 08, 13 at 7:18pm (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
quote Winter1
I'm preparing myself for a shit storm of replies from seemingly intelligent people on here who sympathize with drug addicts.
I'll accept your reasoning here actually. Everyone deals with issues, but someone else's poor coping skills shouldn't take resources from people who are sick by other means (many of which are, granted, self-inflicted by poor choices as well, but we'll go with it; I get your reasoning). I can't entirely disagree with it either. It shouldn't be my problem that someone chose to do that with their lives.

But what about the needles junkies leave behind in parks and other places they shoot up in?

Apparently in the area that it was started in Denmark, the problem is bad enough that it's not uncommon at all for kids to get stuck by used needles left behind after addicts shoot up in parks and like areas. The fixing rooms don't just help the junkies, they're helping keep otherwise healthy people not get AIDS from someone's dirty needle. Is it worth it to keep peoples' kids from getting HIV from going down a slide?

Also notable that you're likely reducing healthcare costs by providing clean needles for the addicts to use. Dirty needles = bloodborne diseases = very high treatment costs and high rates of complications. HIV treatment in and of itself (without the Kaposi's Sarcoma and other complications that eventually come with it) is, at a low estimate, around $2000/month. Apparently a lifetime treatment is in the realm of half a million dollars (source). In Britain, that's an avoidable cost that the government-run healthcare system is eating for just 1 addict that got infected. Hepatitis B isn't much better; costs are low until liver failure progresses to the point where they have cirrhosis or are candidates for interferon or transplant, at which point it's more expensive than AIDS (transplant is apparently nearly $140,000 for the first year of treatment alone, 100,000 of which is the transplant itself but the anti-rejection drugs aren't cheap either) (another source).

Given both of those sets of circumstances, is it better for society to give them fixing rooms? Even if we say to hell with the addicts that chose their issues, what about the rest of us that pay for their mistakes either way, and which is a better option?



Author:   Winter1
Date:   May 09, 13 at 3:53am (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
I get your point with the treatment costs, your a nurse/ doctor right? so you'll know as well as anyone the costs of it all. As for the needles laying around, council cleaners should be cleaning up park area's anyway and could aim for spots that drug users leave there needles.



Author:   KR_1250
Date:   May 09, 13 at 6:10am (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
quote Winter1
Ahh not to sound harsh as some addicts have genuine reasons why they started in the first place but it's a waste of time and sends out the wrong messages. Why waste nurses looking after somewhere like that to look after people whom most of which don't deserve the help. there's also the fact hospitals are better off with those nurses to help look after the people who really need there help.

There's no need for fixing rooms, let the junkies OD if they haven't got the will power to seek help at hospital to help them get over there addiction.
Im curious. You say its a waste of tax payer money, or nurses time... or something along those lines to sit watching these Junkies shoot up. But then you advocate letting them OD in the street. Where do you think those OD'ing Junkies will end up?

quote
I'm preparing myself for a shit storm of replies from seemingly intelligent people on here who sympathize with drug addicts.
That sentance made you sound overly defensive. It sorta shits on anyone who might have a difference of opinion before even hearing them out. Should I just go find a different thread?

LOL, thats the 2nd time today someone has inadvertently called me, or implied i was stupid before i even posted in the topic.



Author:   Winter1
Date:   May 09, 13 at 7:43am (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
Nah wasn't meant as an insult, poor wording on my part but too many times have my views on drug taking and junkies resulted in certain people being very defensive (normally of their own drug taking) on here and ending up with certain people talking down to me as if I'm brain dead (ironic given that they're the ones who are be doing permanent damage to themselves taking who knows what).

I get that the whole cost of treating them is expensive (mainly if they or others catch something). But I think that given that the UK have a care problem already at the moment with nurses being over stretched with hospitalized people that it would make the problem even worse if some were sent to baby sit junkies. The way it is at the moment is better than setting up fixing rooms. I don't know about you but I'm not tripping over myself in OD'ing junkies when I walk down the street. Have never see n an OD'er before and I came from a rough place full of junkies. which means they're jacking up in their homes mainly.


I'm all for logical posts why fixing rooms are beneficial such as Misty and your comments and why my opinions may be off but it's others who simply post to bash the people who bashing drugs.

I simply don't understand why people take drugs in the first place. The taking of them seems very selfish, they don't care about anyone else or their own future so they take it too feel wonder for an hour or however long they last.To me the cons out weigh any pro that can come of it

Costs a lot of money
Damages you in many ways
Addictive
Can get you in bother with police
Dangerous.




Author:   D-G
Date:   May 10, 13 at 11:11am (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
Winter1

Same here. My only conclusion has been that people who choose to use drugs must have a total lack of critical thinking and foresight.

It doesn't exactly take a genius to see where you'll end up if you start smoking crack.



Author:   Reason
Date:   May 10, 13 at 11:22am (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
Forget these small decriminalisation policies, just legalise drugs and be done with it, then addicts will get adequate healthcare and support.



Author:   D-G
Date:   May 10, 13 at 12:15pm (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
Reason

On the other hand, why should sensible hard working people pay for addicts to get medically treated for being selfish imbeciles?



Author:   Reason
Date:   May 10, 13 at 12:37pm (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
quote D-G
Reason

On the other hand, why should sensible hard working people pay for addicts to get medically treated for being selfish imbeciles?
Why should sensible hard word working people pay for the police to lock up harmless people using marijuana? Why should charities be stopped from supporting drug addicts?

It's a good point though... why should the taxpayer pay for obese people to get medically treated for being selfish imbeciles?



Author:   Winter1
Date:   May 10, 13 at 1:29pm (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
Fat people shouldn't get as much help as they do unless it's a genuine medical condition that they cant help. If you try to help yourself then the government should help you.



Author:   D-G
Date:   May 10, 13 at 3:33pm (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
quote Reason
Why should sensible hard word working people pay for the police to lock up harmless people using marijuana? Why should charities be stopped from supporting drug addicts?
A charity should be able to do what it wants, but the tax payer should never be expected to pay to give people drugs.

As for locking people up, why not try alternative punishments?

Large fines? Being spanked, naked, in public?


quote
It's a good point though... why should the taxpayer pay for obese people to get medically treated for being selfish imbeciles?
They shouldn't. Unless it's genuinely not because they overeat and don't exercise.



Author:   Reason
Date:   May 10, 13 at 4:51pm (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
quote D-G
quote Reason
Why should sensible hard word working people pay for the police to lock up harmless people using marijuana? Why should charities be stopped from supporting drug addicts?
A charity should be able to do what it wants, but the tax payer should never be expected to pay to give people drugs.

As for locking people up, why not try alternative punishments?

Large fines? Being spanked, naked, in public?
You actually believe people should be punished for using weed?



Author:   Styot
Date:   May 11, 13 at 2:07am (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
quote D-G
Reason

On the other hand, why should sensible hard working people pay for addicts to get medically treated for being selfish imbeciles?
Because it's been shown in Portugal that treating drug addiction as a heath issue and not a criminal issue is much more effective at reducing drug use, which is what we all want right? Criminalization costs huge amounts of tax payer money also, so surely you'd want to spend the money in the most effective way.

As for this idea, it seems big enough to piss a lot of people off (as evidenced by this thread) but not big enough to actually make any difference, so it seems kinda pointless.



Author:   D-G
Date:   May 11, 13 at 2:59am (PST)
Subject:   re: 'Fixing Rooms' a possibility for Britain?
-------------------------------------------
quote Reason
You actually believe people should be punished for using weed?
Not marijuana, no.

I think weed should be treated exactly the same as cigarettes. Something harmful that idiots will probably get lung cancer from, but not something you go to jail for.

But that said I think it should be illegal to smoke anywhere near anyone else without specifically requesting permission first.

I don't want your cancer fumes, people. Bugger off and stop smoking at bus stops next to little kids, you sociopaths.

Styot Yes I agree addiction is a health issue. I just don't think the public should pay to give people methadone etc.

They should pay themselves. The NHS should be only for medical problems not intentionally inflicted on yourself.


Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. 1999-2014.
All Rights Reserved.