"DCRs are generally established with the aim of addressing a mix of individual health, public health and public order objectives. These services typically aim to reach out to and maintain contact with the most marginalised populations of people who use drugs — those experiencing high barriers to accessing medical and social support — and to provide a gateway through which these groups can connect with a broader range of health and social support services. DCRs further seek to reduce overdose-related morbidity and mortality, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases by offering access to sterile equipment, safer use advice and emergency interventions. By giving people who use drugs the opportunity to consume in a calm, hygienic and supervised environment DCRs also aim to reduce harms resulting from the broader ‘risk environment’ that socially marginalised or excluded groups may be exposed to as a consequence of multiple interacting physical, social, economic and policy factors (Rhodes, 2002).

"In addition, DCRs aim to play a role in combating stigma by treating people who use drugs with dignity and supporting them in multiple aspects of social integration, such as finding employment and housing.

"DCRs are usually set up in areas near urban drug markets that are characterised by high rates of public drug use. By providing a space for safe consumption that is sheltered from public view they may also have the objective of reducing drug use in public and to improve public amenities (e.g., through fewer improperly discarded syringes and less drug-userelated waste in general). In this respect DCRs can be characterised as a response to public order and safety concerns regarding drug scenes while creating an improved environment for local residents (see, e.g., Hedrich et al., 2010; Potier et al., 2014; Schäffer et al., 2014; EMCDDA, 2018).

"The specific goals and objectives of DCRs can vary between cities and may change over time. The first DCRs, established in the 1980s and early 1990s in Swiss, Dutch and German cities, emerged as a local component of HIV prevention and focused on bringing populations of street-based heroin injectors closer to care. Three decades later, the most prominent argument for supporting the scaling up of DCRs in North America relates to their role as part of a comprehensive response to the opioid/fentanyl overdose crisis and the need to curb extremely high levels of opioid-related morbidity and mortality in this region."


European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Correlation - European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN). Joint Report by the EMCDDA and C-EHRN: Drug Consumption Rooms. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, December 2023.