Helsinki City Council has approved an initiative to consider the introduction of a safer drug consumption room (DCR) in the city, which would be Finland’s first.

The initiative was proposed by Green Party city councillor, Dr. Kati Juva, to reduce drug overdoses and the transmission of infectious diseases, to provide support and treatment to those in need, and to reduce potentially dangerous drug-related behaviour in Helsinki. Dr. Juva’s proposal was supported by most of her fellow councillors and was passed on 7 November, meaning the Council will now research the details of the proposition in-depth prior to coming to a final decision.

Drug consumption rooms are harm reduction facilities which allow people to self-administer drugs in a safe and hygienic environment. They reduce disease transmission and risky injecting behaviour as all drug use takes place under the supervision of trained medical staff, and service users are provided with sterile equipment. The presence of staff also prevents deadly overdoses from taking places; across the ten countries operating DCRs around the world, there has never been a fatal drug overdose within such a facility.