France Just Opened A 'Gallery' Where Drug Addicts Can Safely Shoot Up

This week, France's first "shooting gallery" opened to give drug addicts a safe place to deal with their addiction.

As it turns out, many locations across Europe actually have shooting galleries, like Switzerland, Germany and Spain, but this one has sparked some controversy.

Based on a survey done in September by Ifop, a French polling agency, 55 percent of participants were not into the concept of shooting galleries at all. The other 45 percent of participants supported it.

But first, what exactly is a shooting gallery? At the shooting gallery, addicts also have the option to trade in their hard drugs, like crack and heroin, for safer alternatives. Although, we don't know what those safer alternatives are.

This particular gallery in France runs in coordination with the French government and a French organization that treats drug addiction.

Apparently, the center wants to help drug addicts get as clean as possible, and they do so by letting them use their clean facilities.

Since the spread of viral infections through contaminated needles is a huge issue, these centers are seeking to limit the spread and combat overdose by giving patients access to sterile needles and medical professionals.

#Toxicomanie : pourquoi il ne faut pas parler de "#SalleDeShoot" Merci @LCI #SCMR #ReductionDesRisques — DrugConsumptionRooms (@INDCRs) October 12, 2016

While the patients are supervised while taking these injections, the medical professionals are not allowed to actually administer them. They can only intervene if someone overdoses or if someone can't find a vein.

The gallery also offers counseling and support services, in the hopes of ending patients' addictions.

In May, a report released by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found these centers have "an overall positive impact," even though information surrounding effectiveness is limited:

The benefits of providing supervised drug consumption facilities may include improvements in safe, hygienic drug use, especially among regular clients, increased access to health and social services, and reduced public drug use and associated nuisance. There is no evidence to suggest that the availability of safer injecting facilities increases drug use or frequency of injecting. These services facilitate rather than delay treatment entry and do not result in higher rates of local drug-related crime.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding these shooting galleries, French health minister Marisol Touraine said this initiative “in no way trivializes drug use.”

But remember, 55 percent of people surveyed in France are against the initiative. Personally, I agree with them. While it keeps addicts safer, it doesn't seem that this initiative helps addicts stop using completely.

#ReductionDesRisques : La France ouvre enfin une #SalleDeConsommation à moindre risque à #Paris10. #SCMR — DrugConsumptionRooms (@INDCRs) October 11, 2016

What do you think? Should addicts be able to use facilities like this, or does it just slow their progress down?

Citations: France's Solution to Drug Addiction (The Atlantic)