Brussels’ first drug consumption space was opened at the beginning of May. It has welcomed 600 people since it began. The centre allows people struggling with drug addiction to use drugs in a safe space where they are offered help with health problems.
Only hard drugs can be smoked or injected at “Gate,” the first safe space for drug addicts in the city, run by Transit vzw and M.A.S.S. and accessible without an administrative procedure.
“It was necessary to act in the interest of everyone, without making drug addicts who live in precarious situations’ invisible’,” the City of Brussels’ mayor Philippe Close said in a statement.
“Many of these people have no other place to consume than the street, and their living conditions exclude them from the traditional care pathways.”
Aside from being a safe space for drug users, the facility aims to “guide them towards greater well-being, help them take the first steps towards care, put their social and administrative affairs in order, and give them access to housing.”
Users who visit Gate are carefully monitored, including how many drugs they want to use and checking their blood pressure and heart rate. Of the visitors who came to the centre in the past month, nine were men, most of whom had no higher education and a difficult life course.
People are expected to take their own drugs to the centre, project manager Nicolas De Troyer told Bruzz, as it wants to avoid becoming a drug store.
However, out of the 600 visitors, around 40 came to consume their own drugs. Many visited several times, as a total of 150 acts of use, such as injecting heroin and cocaine, were noted.
The centre, located close to places where public consumption regularly takes place in public (close to Brussels-Midi, Anneessens, and Stalingrad), is currently open from Monday to Friday but might open during weekends at a later stage.