France has opened its first supervised injection facility for drug users. The new centre, close to the Gare du Nord in Paris and will provide addicts with a safe and clean environment to inject drugs, Euronews reports.


The aim is to reduce overdoses and diseases spread by dirty needles as well as helping people to be free of drugs. The world’s first such facility opened in the Swiss city of Berne in 1986.


Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo attended the opening:“Today I am very moved and very proud because what’s being done here is necessary, necessary for the people who are in complete disarray, because there is now a door for them. They can come here, they can get counseling, they can get assistance and also be guided towards a life that gets them away from the dependency and the addictions they have.”


Health Minister Marisol Touraine described the move as a milestone in French public health strategy:“This safe injection room is not a substitute for existing policies. It’s targeting outsiders, marginalised people who we need to reach out to differently.”


Not everyone is happy with the location of the centre with opponents protesting against such a facility in a residential area.


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