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The present state of injection rooms in Norway

Publisert 2003-10-25

The 21st of June 2002, a majority in the Norwegian Parliament decided to request the Government to prepare and implement a trial with injection rooms in Norway, preferably in Oslo. In co-operation with the Municipality of Oslo the preparations for such a trial in one room in Oslo has gone on.

The room was ready to be opened in Spring 2003. However, the legality of such a facility was questioned by 12 Oslo-organisations, and the Ministry of Social Affairs decided to turn the matter over to the Attorney General.

This April the report on the matter from the Attorney General was presented. It concluded that injection rooms would not be in accordance with Norwegian Law. If the majority in the Norwegian Parliament still sticks to its opinion from last summer, it would have to change the law first. The minister of Social Affairs, Ms Ingjerd Schou, consequently reported to the press that this matter had to be postponed, and actually made a proposition to the Parliament proposing that the idea of injection rooms should be declared dead. But the majority in the Storting (The Norwegian Parliament) stuck to its opinion from last year, and requested a new proposition for a change in the drug law, so that a trial with injection rooms could be made possible. In the middle of October Mr. John Alvheim (rightwing) asked in the parliament what was to happen now. The minister of Social wellfare, Ms Ingjerd Schou answered that a proposition for a change in the law would be available in December this year, but it would have to undergo a general hearing before it could be presented to the Parliament. She said that the proposition probably could be dealt with in the Norwegian Parliament during the spring session 2004. The municipality of Oslo will in the meanwhile put the prepared injection room into use for other purposes.

The overdose mortality, which has been much of the background for concern and debate and an argument for the trial with an injection room as well, sunk considerably last year, and is still on a much lower level than the previous years. While the number in the worst year, 1998 was 134 overdose deaths, it has this year sunk to 36 so far in October, and will probably be less than 50 this year.This seems to show that injection rooms has very little to do with prevention of overdose deaths, and the development of this rate of deaths. You will find a monthly statistics for overdose mortality in the city of Oslo since 1998 here.

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Forbundet Mot Rusgift, Torggata 1, 0181 Oslo, Norway, phone 23 21 45 26, fax 23 21 45 01, e-mail: post@fmr.no