It was back in 1986 at the 22 of Hodlerstrasse street in Berne, Switzerland, that the first ever drug consumption room was opened.
Il centro è accessibile solo ai maggiorenni, già consumatori di droga, residenti nel canton Berna (essendo sovvenzionato da città e Cantone).
Immagine: Giorgia Bazzuri
It was back in 1986 at the 22 of Hodlerstrasse street in Berne, Switzerland, that the first ever drug consumption room was opened. There, local residents confirmed drug users over the age of 18, are allowed to consume drugs under medical supervision, in a clean, safe and warm environment, with an access to new needles, food and showers. A policy that in the years helped to drop the Hiv infections, reduce mortality risks associated with drug use and promote drug users access to other social, health and drug treatment services. It also aims to reduce public drug use and improve public amenity near urban drug markets.
The model was «exported» to other swiss and international cities throughout the years. Worldwide, at least 90 facilities have been created to permit people to use illegal drugs under medical supervision. The last example is the site opened in Paris in October 2016, thirty years after the trailblazing project.
The site wants to be a non judgmental and dignified environment. It these several years the centre has seen many faces, smiles, hugs and tears. An average of 150 users come here everyday to consume their dose. By walking around the empty rooms, you can see and perceive the passage of all these people. You can even imagine them: sitting at a table having a warm meal or changing in clean clothes.Their relief drawing on a piece of paper their emotions; their discomfort using open toilets. Often when we talk about drug addiction we think it’s a choice, we think that people are not strong enough to say no or too coward to face reality and their problems. Everyone has a story behind though. In these empty spaces it’s up to us how to picture these people.