The first drug consumption room for opiate-dependent persons in Germany was opened in Frankfort on the Main in December 1994. In March 2003 there were 19 drug consumption rooms in the Federal Republic of Germany: These institutions provide several hundred drug injecting places; they are used every day by several thousand addicts several times a day.
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The motivation for establishing drug consumption rooms was the obviously growing health-related and social destitution of hard-core drug addicts on the open drug scene of the big cities. The conception of the drug consumption rooms has been developed in close cooperation between representatives of the municipal authorities, the police, the administration of justice and of the organizations of drug-addict care services. Their objective was to minimize - by direct assistance on the spot - the risks and problems resulting from illicit drug use for the individual drug addicts themselves but also for their social environment.
Most drug related deaths are caused by overdosing of heroin and mixed intoxication due to polydrug abuse. Therefore, it is a prime aim of the Federal Government not only to facilitate health and social rehabilitation via abstinence-oriented assistance schemes and therapies, but also to secure the survival and health stabilisation of the drug users.