Give addicts an injecting room, urges Town Hall

Backdated from previous BA website

Injecting rooms should be seriously considered in Camden by the government, according to a Town Hall report as part of a wide-ranging probe of the Council’s policies on anti-social behaviour. The panel says the Council should now lobby the government to see if injecting rooms are possible. Source; Camden New Journal 23 Sept 2004. The BA will watch this development very carefully as its quite likely any proposed site might be in Bloomsbury! Click title for more……..

So much for treatment!  It would seem it does not work!

We wonder who will supply the heroin that is to be injected – will the dealers that gather around this proposed place be given immunity to trade or will the rediculous game of cat and mouse between the police and the dealers continue?

Why not supply the heroin, the syringes, the sterile water, the swabs and the citric acid tabs in the same place as the injecting is to take place – Could even licence a dealer or 2 to supply the heroin and the crack????? – far better than having the addicts screaming around our streets for their dealer!

The debate about Consultation, Risk Management and Quality Control should be interesting!!!

If we are to condone heroin use in such a ‘controlled’ situation why not prescribe the stuff and stop pussy-footing about.

We then decided to make a written response to the CNJ article.  This is what we sent to the Camden New Journal and our Councilors:


The report by Kim Janssen in CNJ 23rd September. Give addicts an injecting room, urges Town Hall reveals the lack of knowledge on drugs issues of Camden Councillors.
There is no point in supplying so-called injecting rooms to drug addicts unless drugs are also supplied and the supply of such drugs is effectively legalised.  Is this part of the policy that Camden is urging? If so this must be made clear since, if Council policies are adopted and drugs are supplied to addicts in Camden, this will make our area even more of a honey-pot for junkies than it is at present.

Most addicts who make a nuisance of themselves in Camden these days are using a cocktail of both heroin and crack cocaine, some are on prescribed methadone as well so Camden Counci;’s remedy is, to say the least, a little old fashioned and out of date and can do little to ease the drugs problem on the streets at present.

It would also seem that the Councillors are blissfully unaware of what happens inside establishments owned and supported by the Council.
St Mungo’s operates 3 hostels, which are heavily if not wholly funded by Camden, and together with the Parker street hostel (operated by Camden) house possibly 200 addicts at any one time. These people have been attracted into Camden from all parts of the UK and the world through the generous provision of facilities and inadequate policing. St Mungo’s hostel in Endell Street and Southampton Row and Camden’s in Parker Street are located conveniently for the ‘Needle Exchange van which locates daily near St Giles’ church. This is also supported by public authority and funded by the taxpayer and has attracted drug addicts into Camden from elsewhere, where such facilities are not provided.  It has also helped to create a flourishing drugs market in the vicinity of south Camden.
Ten years ago the Parker Street hostel provided temporary accommodation for working men new to London and temporarily down on their luck, as well as a small number of longer term residents often with alcohol problems. Now the hostel is full of young drug addicts and so-called ‘safe injection’ facilities are being provided. This change of use appears to have taken place without reference to the local community or, indeed, the Councillors. The Parker Street hostel is close to two primary schools in an area which was recently traumatised by the Diego murder.  The murderer, now in prison, came to Covent Garden through one of these hostels.
Local authorities should be fully aware of what they are doing and should consult the public before making drastic experiments in dealing with people who are not only potentially dangerous but also a major nuisance and a threat to others.  Drug addicts on the streets have already blighted many parts of Camden.  It is all very well to suggest that Camden should become an area for liberal experimentation in the treatment of drug addicts without consideration of the possible consequences for the environment and public good.  If a ‘safe injection’ room is to be established in Camden then the only possible place for this is in the Town Hall, preferably in the Council Chamber, so the Councillors can appreciate what is going on.
The fact is that South Camden has been an experimental area for drugs treatment for several years with facilities and support for addicts being provided by a range of public and private bodies including central and local government agencies and charities. The policy of â welcome to Camden for drug addicts has gone too far and Councillor Pat Callaghan and her colleagues would do well to keep this in mind before making irresponsible suggestions.

Bloomsbury Association
September 2004

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