"Real alternatives" for drug addicts

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Since April 2020, Abrigado has been offering a substitution programme. This makes it easier for drug addicts to improve their state of health or even to leave the scene. But this path remains rocky - not least because of the situation on the housing market.

Reggae sounds from a loudspeaker mingle with the conversations at the bar. Solitary faces at the tables. Some are deep in thought, others are attentively following the goings-on on the other side of the bar.

The scene takes place in a café, but not just any café. It is the contact café of Abrigado, which is bustling on this cold Wednesday afternoon. Some of the guests may be here just to warm up or because they are hungry. Others, however, are waiting for their turn to get their fix for the next few hours with the sterile utensils provided free of charge.

Since 2005, Abrigado has existed on the border between Bonneweg and the “Garer Quartier”, the only drug consumption room in Luxembourg until the official opening of Contact Esch in July 2019. Even during the Covid 19 pandemic, the doors of the temporary space, which has been open for over 15 years, remained open. Used syringes were exchanged for new ones, wounds were treated or the social worker helped with administrative matters.

In April 2020, however, the Abrigado team opened a new chapter. With the support of the national drug commissioner, the Ministry of Health and services of the “Santé”, the City of Luxembourg and organisations such as the “Jugend- an Drogenhëllef” (jdh) or “Médecins du Monde”, the facility offers a substitution programme.

The plans for this had existed for some time. But the acute situation in the lockdown in March 2020 meant that suddenly everything happened much faster. Because of the closed borders, the empty streets and the increased police presence in public spaces, the supply of drugs in the country also stopped, at least partially.

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Real alternatives for drug addicts

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