U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

European Report on Drug Consumption Rooms

NCJ Number
Dagmar Hedrich
Date Published
February 2004
97 pages
This document discusses the history and effects of consumption rooms in Europe.
Consumption rooms are protected places for the hygienic consumption of pre-obtained drugs in a nonjudgmental environment and under the supervision of trained staff. Consumption rooms are official services, funded from local or regional budgets or by churches. They are distinct from illegal "shooting galleries," which are run for profit by drug dealers, as well as from consumption facilities provided within the framework of drug prescription programs, where drugs are supplied to users. The aim of consumption rooms is to reach and address the problems of specific, high-risk populations of drug users, especially injectors and those that consume in public. They are intended to reduce drug use-related health risks, and to increase the access of specific target populations of drug users to health, welfare, and drug treatment services. Three distinct types of consumption rooms have been identified in the Netherlands: integrated, specialized, and informal. Consumption rooms developed in cities where public drug use persisted and there remained serious concern about infectious diseases, drug-related deaths, and/or public nuisance. Drug consumption is supervised by staff, who also give advice on risks, educate clients about safer drug use techniques, and provide emergency help in case of overdose or other adverse reactions. General admission criteria are that clients are regular or dependent users of heroin or cocaine and over 18 years old. The expected benefits are decreases in high-risk drug use, morbidity, and mortality among the target population; increased uptake of health and social care including drug treatment; and reductions in public drug use and neighborhood nuisance. Studies have shown that consumption rooms reach their defined target population; achieve the immediate objective of providing a safe place for lower risk and more hygienic drug consumption; and clearly increase access to drug services and health and social care. 18 tables, 8 figures, 1 annex, and 150 references