The first DCR was established in 2005 in the City of Luxembourg in the framework of the second national action plan on drugs for 2005 – 2009 under the heading of risk, harm and nuisance reduction.
The Ministry of Health designed the original concept of the DCR and, in 2005, included the latter facility in a financing convention with the ‘Comité National de Défense Sociale’ (CNDS) which was already managing a low-threshold centre for people dependent on drugs in the City of Luxembourg called ‘Abrigado’.
The national action plan on drugs anticipated the further development of harm reduction services in other regions of the country and, notably, the creation of a second DCR in the south of the country. The second DCR is scheduled to open its doors in 2017. Promoter is the "Fondation jugend- an drogenhëllef"
A legal framework for a series of harm reduction measures, such as needle and syringe exchange and supervised injection rooms, was established in 2001 when the basic drug law of 1973 was amended. However, harm reduction interventions had already been initiated and developed prior to the new legal framework. The law amendment in 2001 allowed existing interventions to be maintained and further developed and new services such as drug consumption rooms and medically assisted heroin distribution to be implemented. The first and until now (2015) only injection room at the national level opened in July 2005 and has been integrated into the low-threshold emergency centre for drug users.
Starting from the DCR-regulation rules of Frankfurt (Germany) and inspired by many other foreign DCR's (especially Drop-in, Hamburg, Germany), their philosophy is based on the ideas of a low threshold- and acceptance oriented drug aid, which aims at harm reduction and safer use.
Some major goals are to respect the clients’ right to self-determination and to promote their self-responsibility. A factor of great importance is the bio-psycho-social perspective of the professional staff, because a purely medical point of view does not meet the individual needs and problems of the clients. Furthermore, it should be emphasized, that the main focus of the DCR is not drug consumption itself, but communication, as well as the establishment and expansion of interpersonal relations. In this way, the DCR becomes a drug communication room!
The functioning of the DCR has been accompanied by an overall decrease of overdose cases in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The number of overdose deaths decreased from 27 in 2007 to 5 in 2011. 1,025 overdoses (one third with loss of consciousness) were managed successfully with no fatalities since 2005. Safer use counselling, on-site testing of HIV and hepatitis C and the implementation of an on-site primary medical care service also greatly contributed to reducing drug-related harm.
Up to 2015 a total of 1 600 clients had signed the facility’s mandatory user contract, and more than 59 000 injections were supervised by trained staff during the year 2014. In 2012 the facility opened a room where drugs can be inhaled under supervision (blow room).
The multidisciplinary team of the DCR contains: psychologists, social pedagogues, educators, sociologists and nursing staff.