(L-R): Anne Calteux, Governement Adviser; Étienne Schneider, Deputy PM, Minister of Health; Georges Mischo, deputy mayor of Esch;
Credit: Emile Hengen
Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Étienne Schneider, and Georges Mischo, Deputy Mayor of the city of Esch-sur-Alzette, together officially inaugurated the new Contact centre for drug addicts name "Contact Esch" in the presence of Dr. Alain Origer, National Coordinator "Drugs" and Jean-Nico Pierre, Director of the Jugend-an Drogenhëllef Foundation; this new reception centre, located at 130 rue de Luxembourg in Esch, will be managed by the Jugend-an Drogenhëllef Foundation.
Contact Esch is a combined daytime structure with a supervised consumption room for illicit substance users and is approved by the Ministry of Health. This structure, which represents an additional link in the decentralisation of specialised support services at the national level, is understood as a low threshold offer for drug users.
Minister Schneider particularly praised "the humanitarian and destigmatising orientation of the approach advocated by this offer, guaranteeing drug users to be treated with respect and dignity".
Since the "Drugs and addictions 2005-2009" national action plan, more and more illicit drug users are taking advantage of risk reduction services offered at the national level. This has been accompanied by a significant decrease over the past ten years in overdose deaths in Luxembourg.
Since the opening of the first supervised drug consumption room in Luxembourg city, to date some 2,200 overdose incidents have been managed there; no overdose, supported within this structure, has resulted in a fatal outcome.
According to Minister Schneider, "When we try to reduce drug use in the general population or the negative consequences of the abuse of psychoactive substances in different target groups, we are still pursuing one and the same goal: to prevent damage related to drug use and its corollaries. The only variable in this "Preventive Equation" is the moment at which we can or must intervene."
The building, acquired in 2010 by the city of Esch-sur-Alzette, has been renovated from top to bottom. All finishes, old equipment and installations have been removed down to the supporting structure. The building itself will host the Jugend-an-Drogenhëllef Foundation's office in Eschön and the Esch Contact Administration. The structure for drug addicts proper is installed in prefabricated modules erected at the rear of the property. Most of the construction and renovation costs, as well as staff and operating costs of the Esch Contact, are covered by the Ministry of Health.
Following a series of informative exchanges with the inhabitants of the district and the investment of the places by the supervising team, the Café-Contact, low-threshold daytime offer, and the associated social offers, will be operational very soon. The supervised drug consumption room will complete the comprehensive offer of the Contact Esch centre by September 2019.