You ask us what products or services are provided in a lower risk consumption room (SCMR), intended for drug users. During the rally in front of the town hall of the XXth arrondissement in Paris, Saturday, September 4, opponents of the project to set up a reception room for drug addicts in the Pelleport district (project abandoned since), some residents would have said that the State provided drugs in these places.
There are actually several types of reception facilities for drug addicts in France, with different skills and services offered. But none, of course, provide drugs (crack, heroin, etc.) to users, these products being strictly prohibited by law.
First of all, there are the Caarud (reception and support center for risk reduction for drug users), 141 in number in the region, including 11 in Paris. These are open places, that is to say free and without prior appointment. The person here is not necessarily in a care process, it is essentially a social support, with a first process of socialization, in particular through access to the law. It also provides advice and equipment, such as crack pipes, single-use syringes, or specific bins for syringes, in order to reduce the health risks during drug consumption, outside the place.
Then come the Csapa (Center for care, support and prevention in addictology), numbering 388 in France, including 27 in Paris. Welcoming users with or without an appointment (depending on the day), the proposed approach is social, psychological, and above all medical. These structures “Allow you to take stock with a professional on the difficulties encountered and offer support towards stopping, moderate drug consumption or towards substitution treatment (for people dependent on opiates)”, explains the site Drug Information Services. Substitute drugs such as methadone or Subutex are therefore provided there under medical supervision.
The lower risk consumption rooms (SCMR), finally. There are only two in France, on an experimental basis since 2016: one in Paris and one in Strasbourg. In the capital, it is located rue Ambroise-Paré, in the north of the 10th arrondissement, adjacent to the Lariboisière hospital. These are the only places where users’ products can be consumed on site. “These rooms are intended to accommodate people who normally consume in public spaces, to offer them a safe place, explain to ConsultNews Laurène Collard, of the Addiction Federation. The idea is to shelter them, and to reduce the nuisance for the residents, since these people, anyway, would be consumed, but outside. ”
“Recreating social ties”
The reception begins with an interview, where the person explains what they are consuming and takes stock of their health with a professional. It can then benefit from clean equipment and consume in a space where medical personnel are present. It is then directed to a rest room, the time, generally, that the effect of the product lasts. But no more than in the previous places, therefore, the public authorities do not supply drugs.
“In addition to preventing consumption and its consequences from taking place in the public space, these places are also a way of recreating a social bond. Users can in fact meet social workers, doctors, psychologists or psychiatrists, and there too, take part in a process of reducing their consumption, or even weaning ”, recalls Laurène Collard.
Posted in May 2021, a Inserm report draws a positive assessment of these two experimental rooms, noting a reduction in risks for users and a reduction in nuisance for residents. With this in mind, the Paris town hall announced at the end of August the opening of four new places in the capital, without knowing for the moment whether all of them allow consumption on the spot. An initiative validated since by the government. And in the 20th arrondissement, after the abandonment of the rue Pelleport project, the town hall of the arrondissement and the City of Paris explained looking for another site.