Disagreement about opening supervised drug consumption rooms in downtown Athens.

The initiative of the Organization Against Drugs (OKANA) and the municipality of Athens to create a supervised Drug Consumption Room in downtown Athens, has been disputed by some service providers such as the Therapeutic Centre for Dependent Individuals (KETHEA) and the rehabilitation unit 18 ANO as to whether is it beneficial to the users themselves, whether it contributes to the reduction of social nuisance and whether supervised use hinders the incentive of drug users to abstain. The rationale of OKANA and the municipality to create such sites is based on the fact that Athens has problems with the spread of infectious diseases especially HIV among populations of active drug users and because it is a city with a long waiting list for users who would like to undergo treatment. OKANA notes that the proposed rooms for controlled use are supported by the international scientific community in situations of large cities like Athens Furthermore ethics dictate that, when lives of users are at risk institutions with expertise must limit those risk chances to a minimum and must not close their eyes to what is going in areas out of their competence. The Association Diogenes publishes in the attachment an excerpt from a publication which addresses the issue of the legality of the premises for supervised use. We hope that OKANA and the City of Athens will advance their initiative which certainly will help to improve the situation on dependent users in downtown Athens.

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