Historical archive

Smoking heroin in drug consumption rooms

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Health and Care Services

Minister of Health and Care Services Jonas Gahr Støre wants to allow smoking of heroin in drug consumption rooms. This is not a legalisation or decriminalisation of heroin smoking. The proposal will require an amendment of the Drug Injection Rooms Act, and will therefore be submitted for consultation.

Minister of Health and Care Services Jonas Gahr Støre wants to allow smoking of heroin in drug consumption rooms. This is not a legalisation or decriminalisation of heroin smoking. The proposal will require an amendment of the Drug Injection Rooms Act, and will therefore be submitted for consultation.

The City of Oslo has asked the Ministry of Health and Care Services to evaluate the possibility of removing the current restrictions in the Drug Injection Rooms Act. Today the Act only allows injection of heroin in drug consumption rooms.

In contrast to many other countries, most heroin addicts in Norway inject the drug, while smoking heroin is far more common in other countries. The risk of an overdose through smoking heroin is minimal, assuming other drugs are not taken simultaneously.

"I want to give the most serious drug abusers, who currently frequent drug consumption rooms to inject themselves, the opportunity to smoke heroin. This is an important means of reducing overdoses and preventing infectious diseases among heavy abusers. We must work to reduce the number of overdose deaths in Norway. We have seen a slight decline in recent years, but we unfortunately still have far too many deaths compared with other European countries," says Minister of Health and Care Services Jonas Gahr Støre.

Health professionals cite good arguments for opening up thedrug consumption rooms scheme to also include heroin smoking. The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends smoking heroin instead of injecting it, as smoking the drug is considerably less harmful than injection.

The proposal will require an amendment of the Drug Injection Rooms Act, and must be studied and submitted for consultative comments. How the proposal fits in relation to the UN's narcotics conventions must also be examined, along with considerations that form the basis for the Act relating to prevention of harmful effects of tobacco. The earliest possible implementation of the proposal would be sometime in 2014.