Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Supervised fixing rooms, supervised injectable maintenance clinics—understanding the difference

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 09 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:102
  1. John Strang, director (,
  2. Rudi Fortson, barrister2
  1. 1National Addiction Centre, King's College London, London SE5 8AF
  2. 2London WC1R 4HD
  1. Correspondence to: J Strang

    Harm reduction policies and practices (where anything goes, if it actually reduces harm) have fundamentally altered our approach to the drugs problem. Two innovations were recently considered by the Home Affairs Select Committee—supervised injecting centres and supervised injectable maintenance clinics—but with unhelpful confusion between the two.1 They have different target populations, potential benefits, and legal obstacles.

    Supervised injecting centres (also known as supervised drug consumption rooms or fixing rooms) are essentially public access facilities, perhaps the injecting drug user's equivalent of a pub or bar, where the injection of unknown drugs by unknown persons should be safer by virtue of supervision and consequent speed of response in the event of overdose.2 The target population is all injecting drug misusers—regardless of whether or not they are dependent or wish to change their drug taking habits. Perhaps providing this safer haven may lead some to seek …

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