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"This is not a fun room": Bremen opens drug consumption room for addicts

As of September 4, 2020 .: Kristian Klooss

To help drug addicts, the city is setting up containers near the train station. There those affected can get injections under supervision - and thus survive.

"Everything is white so that you can later see the stains and wipe them away," says Daniela Alex, pointing to the floor and walls of the new drug consumption room in Bremen. The co-leader of the project for severely drug addicts stands in a container that looks sparse even compared to a hospital room. Two tables, a couple of chairs, a white washbasin on the white wall. The reason why so many blood stains could appear on the wall in this room in the future lies on a paper towel on one of the tables: syringes, pipettes and other drug equipment.

"This is no fun room."

Daniela Alex, co-director of the Bremen drug consumption room

Several of the white containers are now ready on the fenced parking lot next to the Jakobus-Haus ("Parrot House") near the train station. The operator, the outpatient drug aid organization "Comeback", expects that their aid center will be used by around 400 to 600 addicts.

This is only part of the 4,000 or so serious drug addicts in Bremen. "But some just don't want that," says Lea Albrecht, who heads the project together with Daniela Alex. There is a clear process for those who want it. "First of all, it goes into the advice container," says Albrecht. There would then be an interview with one of the social workers. "If the client is then accepted, he tells us what he wants and how he wants to consume it."

Bremen's new drug consumption room

The drug consumption room The city of Bremen should give people who are seriously addicted to drugs the opportunity to take drugs safely, hygienically and stress-free under supervision. Those affected are always advised.

Location of the project is the Jakobus parking lot on Friedrich-Rauers-Stra├če, right next to the Jakobus-Haus (Parrot House).

opening hours are initially on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. From October, the opening times are to be extended to up to 70 hours a week.

Most often, addicts then ask for heroin and cocaine or substitutes such as methadone or substititol. Those affected put the injection themselves. They have up to 30 minutes to do this. "But we never let you out of our sight," says Albrecht. Small windows allow a view of the white-walled rooms. "We want the people here to get rest, hygiene and advice," says Albrecht. Nurses and other specialist staff will then help to find a suitable vein. In comparison, injecting drugs in the Wall systems is extremely strenuous and stressful. People should be spared that.

Advice, according to the expert, does not mean that it is all about freeing people from their dependency. Because many of those affected are far from getting advice. Some suffered from withdrawal so much that they combined taking drugs with the sentence: "I'm getting well," says Albrecht. For many, it's just about overcoming withdrawal effects such as tremors, sweating and diarrhea.

Getting off drugs is a hundred steps. The first is to ensure survival.

Lea Albrecht, co-director of the Bremen drug consumption room

The Bremen government has already stipulated in the coalition agreement that it is politically desirable in Bremen to enable drug addicts to lead a decent life. A feasibility study also came to the conclusion that a corresponding contact point should be set up urgently. Especially since other cities are much further along here. In Hamburg, for example, there have been drug consumption rooms for more than two decades.

However, implementation in Bremen was slow. The new drug consumption rooms should actually have opened in April on Friedrich-Rauers-Strasse. The corona shutdown then delayed everything. And there is another problem that has yet to be resolved. Because the current location in the containers on the parking lot of the Jakobus-Haus is only a temporary solution. The Senate had initially planned the latter for a permanent location. "But that broke up," said Bremen's Senator for Health, Claudia Bernhard, to buten un inside. The Senate will now discuss an alternative, which should, however, also be near the train station.

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This topic in the program: buten un within at 6, 21 August 2020, 6 p.m.