The establishment and operation of Supervised Drug Consumption Rooms (SDCR) can soon become a reality

The decision of the Minister of Health published in the Government Gazette no. 1607/27 April 2020, determines the terms and conditions for the establishment and operation of the Supervised Drug Consumption rooms (SDCR).

The decision stipulates that in addition to the recognized organisations of article 51 of law 4139/2013, as in force, the Local Governments (municipalities and regions) can establish and operate stabile or mobile Supervised Drug Consumption Rooms, on the basis of a licence provided by the Minister of Health. This is a provision that has been proposed by the NGOs co-operating in the NGO Platform on Psychoactive Substances and was point of discussion during the parliamentary debate on the bill on the SCDR. We welcome this decision of the Minister of Health. This request was supported by the Municipality of Athens and by scientists and professionals working in the field of psychoactive substances. With this provision, the way is open for the implementation of Supervised Consumption Rooms by interested Local Governments. Diogenis, Drug Policy Dialogue, hopes that the establishment and operation of supervised drug consumption rooms will soon become a reality.

Another point of the Ministerial Decision is the issue of the Register of recipients of the services. The description in Article 5 of the Decision contains improvements proposed during the debate on the law. Article 5 stipulates, inter alia, that “Upon the first contact of the recipient with the SDCR is provided and registered, the 9-digit recipient’s code, which includes:

  • a. The date of birth (year / year)
  • b. The 3rd Letter of the father’s name
  • c. The 3rd Letter of the mother’s name and
  • d. Gender (1 man – 2 women)

The registration is made with the consent of the recipient, after the latter is fully and in detail informed of the purposes of operation of the Register. Specifically, the Register includes:

  1. The 9-digit recipient code that includes date of birth, the 3rd letter of the father’s name, the 3rd  Letter of the mother’s name and gender (1 man – 2 women)
  2. The type of substance of main use, according to his/her statement
  3. The pattern of main substance of use, according to his/her statement
  4. Frequency of injecting/non-injecting use in the last 30 days
  5. Frequency of their injecting/non-injecting use
  6. Residence area according to his / her statement

An earlier version of the Ministerial decision stipulated that a verification of this information was by subsequent visits needed. The verification had to be confirmed  by identification documents (such as, for example, police ID, passport, driver’s license, health booklet, expatriate ID card, birth certificate or marital status certificate, officially translated into Greek, application for international protection, application  for foreign asylum) This verification procedure is not included in the current ministerial decision. This  is an improvement that corresponds to the everyday reality and will facilitate the access of the majority of people for whom the Supervised Consumption Rooms are needed and  useful.

See the text of the Ministerial decision here (in Greek)