On 27 March 2018, the Criminal Justice Centre, Queen Mary University of London (in collaboration with Volteface) held a conference entitled 'Evidence and Issues concerning Drug Consumption Rooms'. Such rooms are designed to be available to vulnerable populations of users, (notably those who use on the streets or in other risky and unhygienic conditions) and they aim to reduce morbidity and mortality, to seek to reduce drug use in public, and to promote access to social, health and drug treatment facilities. Drug Consumption Rooms exist in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. No such facility currently exists in the United Kingdom, but momentum is building for one or more to be (at least) piloted in the UK.
The conference examined and discussed, (i) whether the evidence exists to justify establishing Drug Consumption Rooms in the UK, (ii) the experience of professionals who operate existing schemes, and (iii) the legal and practical challenges, and how they might be addressed.
The speakers included Rudi Fortson QC (Barrister and Visiting Professor of Law, QMUL); Annette Dale Perera (Independent Consultant, ADP Consultancy Ltd); Professor Harry Sumnall (Professor in Substance Use, Public Health Institute, Liverpool John Moores University); Shaun Hopkins (Manager of the Toronto Public Health Needle Exchange Program, ‘The Works’); Susanne Millar (Chief Officer, Planning, Strategy and. Commissioning / Chief Social Work Officer, Glasgow City Council); Oleguer Parés-Badell (Servei de Prevenció i Atenció a les Drogodependències, Barcelona); Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (former Minister of State (Republic of Ireland) for the National Drugs Strategy); Tony Duffin PGD, MSc. (CEO of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, Republic of Ireland); Holger Alfer (Erster Polizeihauptkommissar, Police Hamburg, PK 11 Head of Drug Measures); Lars Küthe (KHK Polizeipräsidium Frankfurt am Main); Marie Jauffret-Roustide (Sociologue, Chargée de recherche Inserm, Paris); and assisted by Liz McCulloch (Volteface).