Norways only DCR is operated by the Oslo Municipality’s Agency for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, and is jointly funded by the Oslo Municipality and the Norwegian Directorate of Health. No other municipalities have yet chosen to follow Oslo’s example.
The supervised drug injection facility in Oslo, Norway, was established on 1st February 2005 after years of political debate. The DCR was established as a three-year trial under temporary legislation, which was prolonged until a permanent legislation was passed in 2009. Initially, the DCR was co-located with a low-threshold health clinic and a needle-exchange programme, but was subsequently relocated to a more suitable temporary stand-alone location in 2007.
The purpose of the DCR is to increase the dignity of people with a long-term history of injecting drug use, by providing a hygienic and safe environment to inject heroin. DCRs aim to provide a multidisciplinary specialised model of treatment. They seek to contribute to improving the health status of people who inject drugs through the presence and supervision of healthcare workers in order to prevent injection-related infections, to assist in case of overdose, and to link the client with other social and health services and drug dependence treatment programmes.
The DCR in Oslo has been evaluated by the Norwegian Institute for Drug and Alcohol Research (SIRUS) in 2007 and 2009. The two evaluations were carried out when the room was operating in two different locations, and reflect the importance of suitable infrastructure. Both evaluations conclude that the objectives are difficult to evaluate. However, they pointed out that the supervised drug injection scheme increased the promotion of the dignity of the group in question, both generally and for the individual. Findings also concluded that clients felt less socially excluded. The DCR also enabled increased access to health and social services, and to professional assistance in case of overdose.
The staff of the DCR is multidisciplinary, including nurses, auxiliary nurses and social workers, and there is always at least one nurse on duty during the DCR’s opening hours.