Effectiveness and Benefits of Supervised Consumption Facilities

"Generally speaking, it is reasonable to conclude, on the basis of the available knowledge, that to a large extent DCFs [Drug Consumption Facilities] achieve the objectives set for them, and that the criticisms made of them are rarely justified. In fact, DCFs help to:
"• reduce risk behaviour likely to lead to the transmission of infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, among the population of the worst affected drug users;
"• reduce the incidence of fatal overdoses and, therefore, the mortality rate in this population;
"• establish and maintain contact between this population and the social-service and health-care network, within which low-threshold facilities (LTFs) are often the First point of access because of the care and social assistance they offer;
"• reduce public order problems, particularly by doing away with open drug scenes, reducing drug use in public places, recovering used syringes, and reducing the impact of drug problems on residential areas (apartment buildings).
"At the same time, the available data do not indicate any specific detrimental effect on:
"• the number of drug users and the frequency with which they use drugs; the figures are falling in both cases;
"• entry and retention in treatment, because the majority of DCF users are undergoing treatment, the proportion of those in treatment is growing, this subject is tackled within the facilities, and the users themselves state that DCFs do not have any major influence on their treatment.
"All of these observations relate to the overall level of public health and do not mean that DCFs may not have negative effects in some individual cases. However, on the basis of existing knowledge, it would appear that the overall effect of DCFs on drug-related problems is positive."

Source: 

Zobel, Frank & Françoise Dubois-Arber, "Short appraisal of the role and usefulness of Drug consumption facilities (DCF) in the reduction of drug-related problems in Switzerland: appraisal produced at the request of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (Lausanne: University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, 2004), p. 27.
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