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.

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:

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.

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)