Newsbrief: Safe Injection Site Opens in Oslo 2/4/05

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Even in staunchly prohibitionist Scandinavia, harm reduction measures are hard to resist. According to a message from Sindre Ringvik, the leader of an Oslo drug users' outreach project that manages the new Oslo "Syringeroom" ("sproyterommet"), to a Danish drug users' group, the Danish Drug Users Union (BrugerFoerningen), the safe injection site is now open after years of indecision by Norwegian and city of Oslo authorities.

The city of Oslo had decided to open a safe injection site for hard drug users in October 2001, and the site had been ready to go since March 2003. But it has taken until now to win final approval for the trial project.

According to a city of Oslo web site, the safe injection site has five full-time employees and is open a relatively limited six hours per day, from 10:00am to 4:00pm. A health worker is always on duty to supervise -- but not to assist in injections. If users have problems shooting up, they can turn to other users for help. The only drug that can be injected at the site is heroin. Users will also be offered access to drug treatment, either drug substitution or abstinence-based.

Users must register and receive a special user-number. They must also be over the age of 18 and must report how much they intend to inject. The locale is familiar to Norwegian drug users, since it has housed a drug users' health care project and needle exchange project for the past several years.

For Norse readers, more information is available here.

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Issue #373 -- 2/4/05

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