February 17, 2016
The Municipal Assembly of Lisbon Decided to Open Drug Consumption Rooms as Soon as Possible
The first room will be opened in Alta de Lisboa, in the parish of Lumiar.
The Municipal Assembly of Lisbon has approved a proposal to the Council of Lisbon to implement a plan on the opening of drug consumption rooms in the city "in the shortest time" possible. The proposal was presented by the Left Bloc (BE) party, which believes that this is "an imperative necessity."
The initial text of the recommendation called on the municipality to implement this measure "immediately" but the wording was eventually changed at the request of Members of Citizens For Lisbon. Also, it was added that civil society and professional service providers working in the area should be consulted before the opening of DCRs.
On behalf of BE, James Ivo Cruz stressed that the measure "is unanimously embraced by professionals," and has already been introduced "in more than 70 towns and cities." The representative regretted the delay in implementing this initiative in Lisbon.
The president of the Board of the Lumiar district, who is supposed to open the first drug consumption room, stressed that "it is essential" to have the support of the community living next to these services. "We have to win over the community to support the cause," said Pedro Delgado Alves, who emphasised that in his case it has been already achieved.
He said that in his neighborhood in Lumiar, residents are often confronted with people using drugs on the stairways of buildings. "It is a dramatic reality," noted Pedro Delgado Alves.
He explained that the creation of a consumption room in the area of Alta de Lisboa has been planned by the Drug Group of the Social Committee of the Lumiar District, with the involvement of local institutions and organisations such as the General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD), a governmental agency coordinating drug policies in Portugal.
The recommendation divided the Social Democratic Party (PSD): one deputy voted against, five abstained, and the rest voted in favor. The Conservative People's Party (CDS) and the centre-right Green Party (MPT) abstained, while Socialists (PS) and other parties voted in favor.